COVID-19 Bill of the Month: Suspicious Cough Leads to Emergency: Shots

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Doctors’ offices seeing no patients with COVID-19 symptoms in April, Timothy Regan said he had no choice when Denver Health first referred him to his emergency care facility , then to his emergency room. “I felt bad, but I have been dealing with it for a while,” he says.

Ethan Welty for KHN

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Ethan Welty for KHN

Doctors’ offices seeing no patients with COVID-19 symptoms in April, Timothy Regan said he had no choice when Denver Health first referred him to his emergency care facility , then to his emergency room. “I felt bad, but I have been dealing with it for a while,” he said.

Ethan Welty for KHN

From late March to April, Timothy Regan had several severe coughing attacks a day that often made him short of breath. He also regularly had a low grade fever.

Wondering if he had COVID-19, Regan called a nurse hotline run by Denver Health, a large public health system in his city. A nurse listened to him describe his symptoms and told him to go immediately to the emergency care facility in the hospital system.

When he arrived at Denver Health – where the emergency room and the emergency care center are located side by side at his main downtown location – a nurse referred him to the emergency room after noting a pain among his symptoms.

Regan was seen quickly and received a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram, known as an ECG, to check his lungs and heart. Both were normal.

A doctor prescribed an inhaler to help him breathe and told him that he might have bronchitis. The doctor said he should assume he had COVID-19 and that he should be quarantined at home for two weeks.

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