Scripps Health has launched a COVID-19 nurse line, at 888-261-8431, that connects patients to a team of nurses dedicated to screening people with symptoms associated with the new coronavirus.
Patients with fever and/or respiratory symptoms should call the dedicated phone line first before coming to any Scripps facility. They should not just walk in and should not use the Scripps online scheduling system for appointments.
Anyone who calls the nurse line will be connected to a nurse at the COVID-19 call center who will ask a series of questions designed to evaluate the caller’s potential risk for coronavirus infection. As warranted, the caller will be connected to a provider via video chat for further evaluation.
Those determined to have a risk of infection might be instructed to go to one of three cabanas located outside our urgent care centers for further testing or if necessary, to an urgent care center or emergency room for further treatment. Other callers will be directed to the most appropriate location for further care that meets their needs.
The cabanas are located outside Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines (opening Friday, March 13), and Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo and Scripps Coastal Medical Center Vista (opening Tuesday, March 17) and only available to patients directed there through the nurse line.
If directed to one of the cabanas, patients will be provided information on where to park their vehicle and given a phone number to call the team in the cabana once they arrive. The provider will meet the patient in their vehicle, provide them with a mask and perform the necessary evaluation and testing.
Video chat sessions will be conducted through the MyScripps smartphone and tablet app. Patients are encouraged to sign up in advance for a MyScripps account by visiting MyScripps.org and downloading the app from their smartphone app store.
The nurse line is based at the organization’s corporate headquarters in La Jolla, and is staffed from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
“The health and safety of our patients, physicians, staff and community are our top priorities at Scripps,” said Ghazala Sharieff, M.D., Scripps chief medical officer, clinical excellence and experience. “We are launching these services to protect all involved and to make sure our patients are getting the right level of care that they need.”
Additionally, Scripps is expanding visitor restrictions previously in place at its five hospital campuses to all of its outpatient clinics, urgent care centers and Scripps HealthExpress sites. Visitors with fever or respiratory symptoms will not be allowed inside any Scripps clinical facility. Children age 14 and younger also will not be allowed inside unless they are patients receiving treatment or have appointments.
Scripps clinical and administrative leaders have spent weeks developing a long-term strategy to deal with the new coronavirus. This has included enacting the visitor restrictions, operating a 24-hour corporate command center, and using enhanced protective precautions for staff that go beyond current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for interacting with patients who might be at risk of COVID-19 infection.
The latest measures have been in the works for more than a week.
“As we implement these additional safeguards at Scripps, it’s also a good time for everyone to remember that each of us has a role to play in keeping ourselves and others healthy,” Dr. Sharieff said.
She recommended washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; coughing into a tissue or your sleeve instead of your hand; limiting handshaking as much as possible; avoiding crowds; and staying home if you are sick.
Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.