Urgent care facilities taking extra precautions to cut down on coronavirus risk

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As anxiety and concern over the coronavirus grows, many New Jerseyans may feel the need to go see a doctor if they suspect that they are becoming sick.

Urgent care centers around the state are taking steps to protect patients as more people come by to seek medical treatment.

ImmediCenter medical director Dr. Michael Basista says that his clinic has instituted new procedures to minimize exposure to a potential coronavirus COVID-19 case.

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“When a patient comes to the front desk for an urgent care visit, they’re asked three questions: Do you have a fever? Are you coughing? Are you short of breath? If the answer is at least one yet, they’re given a mask. And they’re asked to wait outside. We’ll call you when we’re ready to whisk you into an exam room,” Basista says.

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The members of the staff are wearing masks and hand sanitizer can be found throughout the facility.

“I have designated at least one exam room and calling it a ‘sick room,’ where this is being used only for people with some sort of potential infectious disease,” Basista says. “We bleach the room after the patient is seen.”

But Basista says that even if patients present symptoms consistent with coronavirus, it does not mean that they have the virus. He says that this is why he encourages those who are experiencing symptoms to get examined, as long as they feel strong enough to do so.

“I would not try and prevent them from coming in because I want to look for an alternate diagnosis which is more likely,” Basista says.

The doctor also reminds the public to continue to practice good hygiene like washing their hands and covering mouths when coughing.

"You know, we may learn a lot from this that will help us in the future to cut down on other epidemics,” Basista says.

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