Cold and flu season is here and along with a significant increase in COVD-19 cases, that means more patients are coming into emergency departments and urgent cares across West Michigan. Unfortunately, this has caused significant strain on these important services. So, Spectrum Health is reminding everyone that other same-day health care services are readily available for non-emergency issues such as cough, sore throat, ear pain and mild fever. We welcomed Dr. Philip Waalkes, Division Chief of Family Practice along with Emily Welker, Director of Operations, with Spectrum Health.
As far as same-day health care services that exist other than emergency room or urgent care include:
- Virtual urgent care is on-demand, 24/7 and can assist those with flu or cold symptoms in as little as 10 minutes or less in most cases, right from home.
- Walk-In Clinics are available for in-person care with evening and weekend hours.
- Primary Care Offices are offering more same-day appointments, and evening and weekend hours. Every office has 24/7 support for questions, concerns and prescription refills. In-person, virtual and e-visits are available, too.
What types of health issues can be seen during these visits?
- Allergies, Cough/cold/flu, COVID-19 symptoms, Diarrhea, Eye Irritations, Headache, Heartburn, Insect Bite, Nausea, Ear Pain, Rash, Sinus Problems, Sore Throat, Urinary Symptoms, some pediatrics conditions as well.
- Virtual care is the same providers, the same quality, it’s all the same care you’d receive in person. Just now we’re delivering that same care in even better and more convenient ways.
- If your provider thinks it would be better that you’re seen in-person, they will help you get where you need to be.
- If it’s your first time, we encourage you to try a virtual visit to avoid longer wait times
- In cases where emergency care is needed, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain and trauma, individuals should continue to access Spectrum Health emergency departments or call 911.
How would someone make a virtual appointment?
- OnDemand virtual urgent care can be accessed in 3 easy steps—download the Spectrum Health app, select On-Demand Virtual Visit, and you’ll be connected to a provider in 10-15 minutes.
- Schedule video visits with your office through the Spectrum Health app as well. How? Login to the SH app, Click “Menu”, “Schedule and appointment”, the “Primary Care visit”.
- E-Visits can be accessed once you are logged in to the Spectrum Health app, allowing you to submit a questionnaire with your symptoms to a provider without the need for in person or video visit.
- Or call their office and ask for a video visit
How does someone tell the difference between flu, cold and COVID symptoms?
- The common cold, flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms, but often present very differently
- Provide example
- More details can be found at Spectrum Health’s Flu Information Center webpage [spectrumhealth.org].
Where is the best place to get a COVID-19 test?
- There are several COVID-19 testing sites available at area pharmacies such as Meijer, Rite Aid and Walgreens. These are the best places to go if you are asymptomatic. At-home testing is available as well.
Walk-in COVID-19 testing is NOT available at any Spectrum Health site, including Emergency Departments, Urgent Care locations or Walk-in Clinics. However, if you have symptoms, appointments can be easily made through MyChart.
For more information, visit Spectrum Health’s COVID-19 Resource Center [spectrumhealth.org].
This segment is paid for by Spectrum Health.