Is It Safe to Visit An Urgent Care Right Now?

April 6, 2020

Right now, it’s still uncertain how long the practice of social distancing and isolation will continue as health care workers continue to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. But for many, life goes on as they continue to work from home, play (with a safe social distance, of course) and live.

As life goes on, so does the need for medical care, unrelated to COVID-19. In fact, according to the Urgent Care Association of America, urgent care clinics typically handle about 89 million patient visits each year.

Many of those visits are for common illnesses and injuries such as spring allergies, ear infections, urinary tract infections, sprains and strains that may require X-Rays and cuts that may require stitches. Most centers also have lab capabilities as well as EKG and X-ray machines that can help doctors perform more advanced diagnostic care.

So, if something happens that may require you to see a doctor, rest assured that many urgent care centers – including all of Hackensack Meridian Health’s Urgent Care facilities – are ready to help.

What Are Urgent Care Centers Doing to Keep You Safe?

Urgent care centers across the U.S. are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their offices and in their communities. Here’s what you can expect at our locations:

  • Enhanced cleaning protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Telephone screening for symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or flu illness.
  • Many urgent care clinics are implementing curb side testing for possible COVID-19 patients to reduce further exposure to COVID 19.
  • Changes are being made to waiting areas to help enforce social distancing.

What Steps Can I Take Before A Visit?

It’s important to know when visiting an urgent care is the right choice. When possible, visiting an urgent care instead of an emergency department helps our emergency medicine teams focus on caring for the sickest patients.

Before visiting an urgent care center during the COVID-19 outbreak, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you are sick with symptoms related to COVID-19 (fever, dry cough and respiratory symptoms) – call ahead and tell the team. They may have special instructions for you.
  • Limit the amount of people you bring with you to the visit.
  • Schedule an appointment ahead of time to help limit your wait time.

An urgent care center can be a great way to get treatment for a minor illness or injury before it becomes a serious health problem.

Next Steps & Resources

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.