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Veterans fearing they have coronavirus can call toll-free number

New screening procedures because of the virus also mean patients should arrive 20 minutes early for appointments.
Appointments will take a little longer at veterans health centers and clinics in the Bay Pines system to allow time for coronavirus screening.
Appointments will take a little longer at veterans health centers and clinics in the Bay Pines system to allow time for coronavirus screening. [ Times (2014) ]
Published Mar. 6, 2020|Updated Mar. 6, 2020

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Veterans health officials are encouraging veterans who believe they’ve come down with the coronavirus to call a toll-free number for a preliminary diagnosis and to prepare for a trip to a medical center or clinic.

The number is 1-877-741-3400.

“The safest place for you, unless you may require hospitalization, is home,” according to a news release from the Pinellas-based Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. The phone number also is being promoted on the website of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa.

Calling the number first will help limit the spread of coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses, according to the news release. Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

In addition, patients may be inconvenienced by new screening protocols in place at health centers and clinics because of the coronavirus. The goal is to quickly identify individuals who have these symptoms and direct them to a location for further triage and treatment, according to the news release.

Patients were advised to arrive for appointments at least 20 minutes early to allow time for the screening.

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