MANKATO, Minn. — During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people may be concerned with the safety of local clinics and hospitals. Unfortunately, this concern may keep them from seeking care when they need it. 

“The fear of visiting Urgent Care locations may be exasperated because some Urgent Care locations are near dedicated COVID-19 testing sites,” says Graham King, M.D., family medicine physician and Urgent Care lead, Mayo Clinic Health System. “But you should know that it is safe to seek care in Urgent Care locations across Mayo Clinic Health System.”

While health care providers are trained to ― and routinely do ― care for patients with communicable diseases, Mayo Clinic Health System has implemented additional safety strategies to keep patients and staff safe from COVID-19. 

These strategies include:

  • Screening staff for a temperature and other symptoms before every work shift
  • Providing staff additional training and education on personal protective equipment
  • Requiring masks for all patients and staff to reduce overall risk of transmission
  • Enhanced cleaning and decontamination practices
  • Separating patients with COVID-19 symptoms from asymptomatic patients
  • Using telehealth services to screen patients, and reduce patient and staff infections

Urgent Care providers specialize in treating minor illnesses and injuries, commonly diagnosing and treating colds and coughs, ear infections, minor burns and cuts, rashes, sprains, urinary tract infections, and other conditions that are not life-threatening. It may help to view Urgent Care as the middle ground between your primary care provider and the Emergency Department.

Minor injuries or illnesses are easier to treat and cause fewer long-term consequences if they are evaluated and treated quickly. Unfortunately, delays in care could cause significant, long-term health issues. 

Urgent Care is designed to treat health conditions that while not life-threatening should be cared for today. For example, a sprain is a common reason to go to Urgent Care. If not evaluated properly, a sprain could lead to chronic pain, or instability or arthritis in the joint. 

Another reason to visit Urgent Care is to evaluate and treat a urinary tract infection. Waiting to seek care could lead to complications, including recurrent infections, permanent kidney damage or urethral narrowing ― all of which are harder to treat.


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