February 3, 2021

Mark L. Friedman, MD, FACEP, FACP

How does FSH screen patients? 

Our doctors follow published CDC guidelines. These guidelines change as doctors and scientists learn more about the virus. Here are some common scenarios: 

  • If a patient has COVID-like symptoms, the doctor will assess the severity of those symptoms and advise on next steps. Generally, a patient with mild symptoms will be told to isolate to prevent the spread of the virus. In some cases, the patient may have secondary infections that the doctor will treat. (For example, if someone has a bacterial infection, he/she may receive antibiotics for the infection, but there is no specific treatment for COVID-19.) The patient will receive educational information via follow-up communication on how to be tested. 
  • If a patient came into close contact with someone with COVID-19, the doctor will recommend a 14-day quarantine. 
  • If the patient has severe shortness of breath, the doctor will advise the patient to dial 911 and let the dispatcher know that they may have COVID-19.


When would FSH doctors recommend ISOLATION?

Doctors should recommend isolation if a person has two or more symptoms of COVID-19, according to the CDC. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste/smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion/runny nose
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea 
  • (Symptoms may include others)

According to the CDC, isolation is required until the person meets the following criteria:

  • at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and
  • at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and
  • symptoms have improved.
  • If symptoms never develop, the person should isolate for a period of no less than 10 days from the date of a positive test.


When would FSH doctors recommend QUARANTINE? 

Doctors should recommend a 14-day quarantine to people who have been in close contact with a known case of COVID-19. (If a person has two or more symptoms of COVID-19, they will be recommended to isolate for 10 days.) Doctors can help assess for known exposure. The CDC defines close contact as when a person:

  • is the caregiver for, or
  • shares a home with, or
  • has been less than 6 feet from an infected person for more than 10 minutes.

During this time, the patient should stay home, keep social distance from people inside the home, self-monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with high-risk individuals. This helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.


I think I might have COVID-19. What should I do? 

If you are experiencing mild symptoms such as cough and/or fever or believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, DO NOT GO to the emergency room. Call your doctor or use telemedicine instead to reduce your risk of catching or spreading the virus. 

If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call 911 and advise the dispatcher of your symptoms. DO NOT CALL emergency rooms prior to going, as many ERs are not set up to handle the volume of calls. Remember to use emergency departments for emergencies ONLY. 


What should I do before contacting FSH?  

  1. Ensure you are a First Stop Health member. Our telemedicine service is provided through employers. 
  2. Take your temperature.
  3. Download our mobile app or log in. You can call 888-691-7867, too, but requesting a doctor visit via app or web is the quickest way to talk to a doctor.  


Originally published Feb 3, 2021 6:00:00 AM, updated March 4, 2021.