As coronavirus picks up speed, patients and even doctors are trying to minimize contact with potentially infected patients. For some that means using a concierge medical service.
"In the last week, we have seen an uptick in calls phone calls from patients and patients with symptoms, upper respiratory tract infection and fever," said Dr. Edward Espinosa. He runs the concierge medicine practice, Buckhead Medicine.
His office provides around the clock access to doctors and other perks for a monthly fee.
"Given this current crisis that we’re in we’re taking all comers," said Espinosa.
Since Wednesday, Dr. Espinosa said he has given eight coronavirus tests.
"We are bringing the patients in through a back entrance where only I will see the patient and I will be dressed in full protective attire to ensure minimal to no transmission," he said.
He walked 11Alive through the process with someone not receiving medical care. He said the test is done within seconds and the patient is able to leave without encountering any other patient. He said tests are back within four days.
When Dr. Espinosa is not at the concierge practice, he works at Northside Hospital where he said the Emergency Room is already seeing a surge in patients.
"It’s definitely a busy time because we’re still in flu season," said Espinosa. "But on top of that we’re seeing an increase in emergency room visits and admissions to the hospital from complaining of symptoms that could potentially be covid-19."
Hospitals across the country are preparing for an onslaught of cases in the weeks to come. Dr. Espinosa cautions patients at a higher risk should weigh other options before heading to the E.R.
"I’m not recommending that people go to the emergency room unless they absolutely need to. If you have not really been exposed to COVID-19 it drastically increases your exposure," he said.
In Georgia, the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, according to officials. At 11Alive, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.11Alive.com/Coronavirus.