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LaClinica call-in clinic fields hundreds of coronavirus calls

A local nonprofit clinic has rolled out a new call-in service helping Southern Oregonians without a primary care physician sort out their cold and flu symptoms from COVID-19.

Over the past four weeks, La Clinica’s new respiratory triage clinic has fielded 507 calls from uninsured and underserved patients concerned about their coughs, fevers and related symptoms during the pandemic, according to La Clinica spokeswoman Julie Wurth.

As of Wednesday, the clinic had performed 183 tests at the clinic for the novel coronavirus.

Some of the patients treated through the new program were diagnosed with strep throat or the traditional flu because of the program.

The program is open to current La Clinica patients, as well as non-patients with no regular health care provider and people who only speak Spanish, according to Wurth.

The program starts with a phone call to La Clinica’s general line at 541-535-6239. La Clinica staff will transfer callers to the respiratory triage clinic, which operates from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Nurses at the respiratory triage clinic field caller questions about symptoms to determine whether the patient needs to be seen by a doctor, or if the person calling has mild enough symptoms that they can take care of themselves at home.

In many cases, nurses will schedule appointments for patients the same day they call, according to Wurth.

“The number per day depends on the right symptoms,” Wurth said.

LaClinica accepts most insurance, including Oregon Health Plan, and charges uninsured patients a sliding scale based on their income.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Courtesy photoLaClinica has rolled out a new call-in service helping Southern Oregonians without a primary care physician sort out their cold and flu symptoms from COVID-19.