The Emergency Department and COVID-19

From an interview with
Dr. Thomas Lewis, Jr.
Medical Director
McLeod Regional Medical Center Emergency Department

Emergency Departments are some of the busiest locations in almost all hospitals. That’s no surprise, given the range of problems that appear for treatment.

“The hospital emergency room should be used for people, who are very seriously or critically ill or if they’re having medical emergencies or symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, fainting or having chest pain or pressure,” says Dr. Thomas Lewis, Jr., Medical Director of McLeod Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department. “A person should go to the ED if you have uncontrolled bleeding, coughing, vomiting blood, or sudden or severe pain. You should also go to the Emergency Department for high fevers, blurry vision, seizures, or any major illnesses or injuries, such as broken bones, deep cuts or burns.”

While all of those problems are good reasons to head to the Emergency Department, Dr. Lewis cautions that rushing to the ED is not the first thing to do if you think you’re having coronavirus symptoms.

“If you believe that you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, first you should call your primary care or family physician for an assessment,” says Dr. Lewis. “You might check with your McLeod primary care physician. Many are now offering Televisits, which you can do from home. McLeod Telehealth also offers a method for a physician to address your symptoms. Additionally, you can take an online coronavirus assessment. All three of these options are available on our website,”

“It’s extremely important for people to protect themselves and their families from either getting or spreading the virus,” concludes Dr. Lewis. “You can do this with good hygiene, social distancing and remaining at home as much as possible. Then, pay attention to the little things that you’re not used to cleaning, such as your door handles, railings, TV remotes and children’s toys.”

Find out more about Coronavirus (COVID-19).