SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — To help deal with a potential influx of people showing symptoms of novel coronavirus, Scripps Health launched a coronavirus nurse hotline connecting patients to a team of nurses dedicated to screen for the virus.
Scripps Health is urging patients to call the dedicated phone line before coming to any Scripps facility. People with suspected symptoms -- fever or respiratory symptoms key among them -- can call 888-261-8431. The line is staffed from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Nurses will evaluate the caller with a series of questions to determine potential risk for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. As warranted, a caller may be connected to a provider by video chat for further evaluation.
Those determined to have a risk of infection might be instructed to go to one of three cabanas located outside Scripps urgent care centers for further testing or if necessary, to an urgent care center for further treatment. Other callers will be directed to the most appropriate location for further care that meets their needs.
The cabanas are located at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines, opening Friday, and Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo and Scripps Coastal Medical Center Vista, opening Tuesday, March 17, and only available to patients directed there through the nurse line.
"The health and safety of our patients, physicians, staff and community are our top priorities at Scripps," said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps chief medical officer. "We are launching these services to protect all involved and to make sure our patients are getting the right level of care that they need."
If directed to one of the cabanas, patients will be provided information on where to park their vehicle and given a phone number to call the team in the cabana once they arrive. The provider will meet the patient in their vehicle, provide them with a mask and perform the necessary evaluation and testing.
Video chat sessions will be conducted through the MyScripps smartphone and tablet app. Patients are encouraged to sign up in advance for a MyScripps account by visiting MyScripps.org and downloading the app from their smartphone app store.
Additionally, Scripps is expanding visitor restrictions previously in place at its five hospital campuses to all of its outpatient clinics, urgent care centers and Scripps HealthExpress sites. Visitors with fever or respiratory symptoms will not be allowed inside any Scripps clinical facility. Children 14 and younger also will not be allowed inside unless they are patients receiving treatment or have appointments.