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Free virtual urgent care available

STEUBENVILLE — Trinity Health System has launched a free virtual urgent care service, Virtual Care Anywhere, for those in the community experiencing mild to moderate symptom of the new coronavirus.

The new service is encouraged as an initial care option for anyone who would like to discuss symptoms characteristic of COVID-19 with a health care professional.

Trinity says virtual health care visits can help providers meet demand while reducing potential transmission of the coronavirus at a time when ambulatory and acute care facilities across the country are experiencing an increase in the number of patients displaying symptoms of COVID-19. It’s a safe and convenient way for people to get medical advice without an in-person visit at a physical care location.

To use the service, visit www.franciscanvirtualcare.org, download the Virtual Care Anywhere app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or call (855) 356- 8053 and use the coupon code COVID-19.

The virtual service normally has a fee of $35 per visit, but it will be waived for any patient who thinks they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. After requesting an appointment, a virtual care provider will contact the patient once they are available, typically within 15 -30 minutes, although high demand may result in longer wait times. The service is on- demand and does not accept appointments.

“Virtual urgent care visits are one way we will help patients with COVID-19 symptoms and assess their options for treatment or testing,” said Rick Greco, DO, president of the Trinity Medical Group Enterprise. “Virtual visits allow for timely care delivery without putting other patients or our clinicians at risk for contracting the virus. And while it’s not intended to replace in-person care visits, it will help reduce patient volumes at care sites so we can serve those who need care the most.”

Health care experts are recommending virtual urgent care for patients with less severe symptoms of COVID-19 such as low-grade fever, a cough, or shortness of breath. People with mild symptoms who are evaluated virtually by a medical professional can avoid interacting with others and ensure they receive the appropriate level of care in the right setting.

Anyone experiencing severe symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as a high fever or difficulty breathing, should call 911 or visit the nearest care site. People should call their medical facility in advance to notify the care team of any COVID-19 symptoms before visiting in person, Trinity suggests.

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