BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, medical professionals say to call your primary care doctor first. This has been the advice for the past 10 months, but many people may not know where to begin to find a doctor accepting new patients.
With more people looking for a primary care doctor, some doctors say they are booking out months in advance at this point. But if you have COVID symptoms and need to be seen right away, doctors say there are steps you can follow to make sure you get in and get the treatment you need.
Dr. Tyler Batey is a primary care physician with the University of Rochester Medical Center system. He started working at Webster Family Medicine in October and is already booking out to April for new patients.
“Especially younger people that haven’t been to a doctor in 10 years or so or since they’ve seen their pediatrician there’s now a new reason to go and establish care,” Dr. Batey said.
It can be overwhelming to start the process but he said the URMC website’s “find a physician” section is a good place to start. It will list all the URMC doctors still accepting new patients. Dr. Batey said many doctors have expanded to take more new patients because of the COVID demand.
He also said choosing to find a primary care physician now will also benefit you later.
“When they get into my office we find they have high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and without coming in we wouldn’t have caught it for another five years and now we can act on it early.”
Dr. Batey said patients with mild COVID symptoms can be evaluated over the phone. He said patients beyond that won’t be treated at their home doctor’s office they’ll go to Clinton Crossings.
“If they’re severe or moderate but not bad enough to go to the hospital that’s the clinic you’d be directed to. That’s to keep patients coming in for high blood pressure or a yearly physical or anything along those lines, to keep them safe.”
If you already have a primary care doctor and are experiencing COVID symptoms but your doctor can’t get you in as soon soon as you’d like, they may also refer you to the nearest urgent care.