Coronavirus prompts walk-in clinics to take extra precautions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The new coronavirus has spread a dozen states -- including Florida and Georgia, each of which has two confirmed cases, and Washington state, where six cases have been fatal.

Walk-in clinics are taking no chances when it comes to patients complaining about symptoms associated with the coronavirus because the systems look similar to flu symptoms.

News4Jax on Monday went to a Jacksonville CareSpot, where the nurses and the doctor were all wearing masks. At the front desk was a sign warning patients to immediately tell staff if they have been to mainland China or have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed novel coronavirus patient. Even if they walk in with a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, they should immediately alert the staff, the sign said. While there were visible signs that employees at that CareSpot were taking extra precautions, News4Jax did not get to talk to the manager in charge of CareSpot facilities in Jacksonville about their coronavirus protocol.

A sign was placed at the front desk of a Jacksonville CareSpot.
A sign was placed at the front desk of a Jacksonville CareSpot. (WJXT)

At a CVS MinuteClinic in Jacksonville, a nurse told News4Jax off-camera Monday they are now required to ask patients if they have recently traveled to China or been around someone who has traveled to any of the countries where there have been confirmed cases of coronavirus. The nurse also said that because they don’t have coronavirus test kits on hand, they are referring people suspected of carrying the virus to the county health department to get tested. CVS MinuteClinic also offers patients the opportunity to request a Video Visit, which can be an effective way to evaluate and treat viruses from the comfort of one’s home while minimizing exposure to other potentially contagious viruses. Even at a kiosk where patients sign in, they are strongly urged to use available hand sanitizers after they have used the computer touchscreen.

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CVS MinuteClinic
CVS MinuteClinic (WJXT)

People out and about are also taking precautions. Two weeks ago, Alice Schwanz gave birth to her daughter, Anastasia, who at 2 weeks old is too young to have a developed immune system. Schwanz and her mother, Kelly Schwanz, are being just as precautious about Anastasia’s health as the walk-in clinics that News4Jax visited.

“Nobody’s sneezing. Nobody’s coughing around her," Alice Schwanz said.

Kelly Schwanz added: “For me, it’s a big concern because she is so little.”

The mother and grandmother are planning a trip to Massachusetts, where there has reportedly been a confirmed coronavirus case. They said they are electing to drive rather than expose Anastasia to people in airports.

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As for the walk-in clinics, News4Jax reached out to Walgreens about its walk-in clinic protocols, but the message had not been returned as of Monday evening. News4Jax was also waiting to get a full response from the head manager at CareSpot.

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