ASHEBORO, NC – As COVID-19 continues to impact North Carolina, some may wonder if it’s safe to visit a doctor’s office to receive care. Kate McBride, PA-C with FirstHealth Convenient Care in Asheboro, says the answer is a resounding yes.
In the following Q&A, McBride answers some key questions and shares ways FirstHealth Convenient Care is committed to keeping people safe when they seek care.
Some people may be afraid to visit clinics when they have health concerns. Why is this an issue?
McBride: It’s understandable that some people may be anxious, but if you are following medical advice from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services you are greatly reducing your risk of being exposed to COVID-19. We want to be sure people aren’t putting off the care they need.
The problem is that the typical illnesses and injuries that go on in the background, that are not COVID related, are still happening. People are still getting sick, and they’re still becoming injured, but they’re not coming in to see us.
Our Convenient Care clinic in Asheboro is taking precautionary steps to ensure patient safety, including offering curbside and phone visits.
Can you provide additional details on how people can receive care in new ways?
McBride: We’re providing greater access to the same high-quality care that patients are used to receiving from FirstHealth — even during this time of national crisis.
First, we’ve started conducting curbside visits. This is for both COVID-19 screening and testing, and other minor illnesses and problems that may not require an extensive clinic visit. Depending on the nature of their problem, some of these patients may complete an entire visit while remaining in their car.
For patients who require a more detailed evaluation in the clinic, we’ll register them from their car by telephone. We’ll let them know when it’s time to come in. In some cases, staff can go out to their car and accompany them into the clinic.
Another option is to call (833) 715- 2819 to arrange to have a visit with a FirstHealth Convenient Care provider over the phone. We will determine if a telephone visit is appropriate for you, and if it is, one of our Convenient Care providers will call you back.
Again, our goal is to reduce the risk of exposure by eliminating long waits in a group setting in a waiting area. Patients may now schedule a visit ahead of time by calling one of our convenient care clinics. Patients will call once they arrive in the parking lot and are able to complete registration from their car, and we’ll let them know when it’s time to come in.
What safety measures are in place at the Convenient Care for COVID-19 related testing?
McBride: When addressing a COVID-related complaint, we will have personal protective equipment (PPE). That’s our second line of defense. Obviously the first line of defense is distancing patients from other people, and for that reason, we’ve implemented the curbside testing procedures.
The staff that either does the screening or the COVID-19 testing of a patient who meets criteria, will use gloves, a mask and eye protection. If the patient requires an in-clinic evaluation, he or she is required to wear a mask and is escorted into the clinic. In most cases, we can take them through another entrance so they can avoid the waiting area completely.
In the exam room, staff and providers wear their PPE through the remainder of the visit. The room is then cleaned using established protocols and we’re able to turn that room over right away. We follow the policies established by FirstHealth based on OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
Anything else patients should be aware of?
McBride: The FirstHealth website is a powerful resource for patients and staff. They can surf that to find out how to access each one of our clinics, both primary care and convenient care. It is also a resource for COVID-19 and general health-related information. There’s a nice page on the site that gives them information patients can use to stay safe and keep family members safe.
FirstHealth Convenient Care offers treatment for urgent, but non-life threatening illnesses and injuries. If patients require more than preventative care from a primary doctor but do not warrant an emergency room visit, FirstHealth Convenient Care helps fill the gap.
FirstHealth Convenient Care-Asheboro
208 W. Salisbury Street
Asheboro, NC 27203
Open Monday – Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.