DC ER doc advises: Stay home unless you show serious coronavirus symptoms

A D.C. emergency room doctor on the front lines of the coronavirus battle is asking you to help by not going to the hospital unless you have a real emergency.

Showing some of the milder symptoms of coronavirus is not an emergency.

“We see a number of patients coming in concerned they have the virus and particularly coming in hoping to get tested for the virus,” said Metro D.C. Emergency Department physician Jared Goldberg. “There are a very limited number of testing kits available to our hospital and in many hospitals around the area so when patients come in, hoping to get tested, more than likely we do not have the resources to test them.”

More Coronavirus News

Goldberg said if you go to the emergency department, and your symptoms are very minor, there’s really not much he’s going to be able to offer, not even reassurance, because you’re not likely to get a test.

“We’re not going to be routinely testing it,” he said. “It is not a test that even comes back in a few hours. We’re talking about turn around times of three to four days in most cases. So, I’m not going to be able to give you any reassurance, even if we are doing a test on you.”

What you are doing by going to the emergency room is putting yourself, and others, at more risk by exposing yourself to potentially sick patients or, if you do have it, risking bringing a virus into contact with a more sick and vulnerable patient population.

What should you do?

It’s important to remember that with this virus, there is no early treatment available. He believes most people that get the virus are going to do just fine and are going to recover well. They’re just going to experience cold symptoms they can manage at home.

“Unless you are extremely sick, to the point where you’re short of breath, its important for people to stay home, if you are able to, and try to manage your symptoms with regular over the counter medications,” Goldberg said. “Seek emergency treatment only if you are having a true medical emergency.”

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up