Valley urgent care centers prepared for potential COVID-19 coronavirus cases

Local urgent care providers say they're seeing an uptick in people coming in with upper respiratory infections.

While the majority of patients were sick with the flu, clinics are preparing for the possibility of COVID-19 coronavirus cases as well.

Although both the flu and coronavirus have similar symptoms, providers say there are certain criteria a patient must meet before they recommend testing for the coronavirus.

“We would ask people if they have had any foreign travel, or if they've come in contact with anybody they would suspect,” said Louis Meyers, a Physician Assistant at Valley Urgent Care.

Providers at a North Phoenix urgent care so far have not recommended a patient be tested for coronavirus. They're instructed to check for certain criteria, and then, they look at the severity of the symptoms.

"The thing we would worry about the most is a severe cough pneumonia like systems," said Meyers, who says those with mild fever, sniffles, or cough are typically not candidates for testing.

So far, Arizona health officials have tested three dozen people for the COVID-19 coronavirus, and only two Maricopa County residents have tested positive.

The first case was confirmed in January, and the patient has since fully recovered. Health officials say they also monitored those who came in close contact with that patient, and tested them several times. None developed COVID-19. 

One other person, a man in his 20s, recently tested positive.

In contrast, more than 27,000 people in Arizona tested positive for the flu. That's 84% higher than the number of cases in an average season.

"This has most definitely been the worst case for flu that I've seen," said Meyers. "They could start out with the flu, they recover, but then they have a persistent cough secondary to bronchitis, we treat that also."

Health care providers say most healthy people who test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus will likely clear the virus on their own. However, the virus could be deadly for those with compromised immune systems.

COVID-19 coronavirus information

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