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Beaumont opens online COVID-19 risk assessment tool

By: Jonathan Shead | Online Only | Published March 20, 2020

To help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Beaumont Health has created a free online risk assessment to help people determine the level of action they may need to take based on their symptoms. 

According to a March 18 press release, the risk assessment will guide users through a series of questions about their symptoms and help them determine whether they should contact their doctor, drive through Beaumont’s curbside screening — available at all eight of its hospitals — seek emergency medical treatment, or stay at home and monitor their symptoms. 

Beaumont Health officials recommend people call the hospital’s COVID-19 hotline, (800) 592-4784, before attempting to be screened, unless a person is experiencing life-threatening symptoms, in which case they should call 911. 

“The online risk assessment tool will assist people who do not need to be tested and do not have underlying medical conditions … to determine what the best steps are to take at this time,” Beaumont Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant said at a March 18 press conference.

“Many people who become infected with COVID-19 can stay home and treat their symptoms with over-the-counter medication, unless their symptoms become severe. The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath,” Beaumont Health’s Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Dr. Nick Gilpin said in the release. “Everyone does not necessarily need to be tested. Most people who become infected with the disease will not experience complications and (will) recover. They will just need to go home, rest and take over-the-counter pain medication.” 

Gilpin stated at the March 18 press conference that while the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases and associated deaths in Michigan seems to be only the “tip of the iceberg” when compared to what medical professionals know from other countries — China, Italy, Iran and South Korea — “the vast majority” who get infected will recover and survive the virus. 

He said people with underlying medical conditions are likely at the highest risk. 

“The (underlying medical) conditions we’re focusing on are chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, (or) conditions that compromise your immune system in some way,” Gilpin said. “Those are things that are going to push you into a riskier bracket with regards to maybe you do need to be seen more urgently than someone who doesn’t have those symptoms.”

Beaumont Health officials said the best way to help stop the spread of the virus is to stay home when sick, wash your hands often for 20 seconds or more — or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — avoid contact with people who may be sick, avoid touching your face, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces. 

According to the press release, the online risk assessment tool’s information is based on clinical guidance developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though it should not substitute the advice given by a qualified, licensed physician or other health care provider. 

The online risk assessment tool does not provide people with a diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19, nor does it take into account a person’s complete current condition or medical history. 

To access the free risk assessment tool, visit beaumont.org/heath-wellness/coronavirus. 

Call Staff Writer Jonathan Shead at (586) 498-1093.