ORLANDO, Fla. – Many medical professionals are asking people to pre-screen themselves before actually getting screened for COVID-19 by a healthcare worker.
A pre-screen is a series of questions that lets you learn more about a person and their symptoms before recommending they get properly screened by a doctor for coronavirus.
It’s not typically a requirement in the medical field, but as the demand for treatment from doctors and healthcare workers is on the rise amid the global pandemic, public health officials are advising for possible coronavirus patients to self pre-screen or to call a hotline to be pre-screen prior to heading in for testing. This is to help mitigate exposure at hospitals and urgent care centers and to more efficiently treat those severely afflicted by COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some testing guidelines but notes that “decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians.”
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Here are some common questions you should be prepared to answer if you opt to get pre-screened:
-Do you have a severe cough or fever?
-Do you have a slight cough or fever?
-Have you recently traveled outside of the country?
-Have you or someone you know been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?
-Are you immunocompromised or have any history with respiratory illnesses?
-Do you have a tightness in your chest or chest pain?
-Are you experiencing shortness of breath?
-Can you hold your breath for 10 seconds? Do you cough soon after?
If you answer yes to half or most of these questions, you likely need to get properly screened by a physician.
A physician must order a COVID-19 test, and will only order a test if the patient meets the testing criteria as defined by the CDC or discussed by their medical center or public health department.
This means even though you may respond yes to the questions above, you may not have to get tested in efforts to reduce exposure.
Here’s are phone numbers you can call to get pre-screened in Central Florida:
Orange County Health Department Hotline: 407-723-5004
Brevard County Health Department Hotline: 321-454-7141
Osceola County Health Department: (Does not have a dedicated hotline) 407-343-2000
Flagler County Health Department: (Does not have a dedicated hotline) 386-437-7350
Marion County Health Department: (Does not have a dedicated hotline) 352-644-2590
Sumter County Health Department: (Does not have a dedicated hotline) 352-569-3102
Seminole County Health Department: (Does not have a dedicated hotline) 407-665-3000
Polk County Health Department: (Does not have a dedicated hotline) (863) 519-7900
Volusia County Health Department: (Does not have a dedicated hotline) 386-274-0500
Lake County Health Department Hotline: (352) 742-4830 | Hours extended Monday - Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
These call centers are typically available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Florida Department of Health’s also has a dedicated COVID-19 hotline. You can call (866) 779-6121 for more information or to get pre-screened. The call center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that due to an influx of calls you may experience longer wait times. Public health officials ask that callers please be patient as they work to properly tend to people.