Vilnius Municipality will open two so-called fever clinics reserved for patients who are possibly infected with Covid-19, according to a press release.
These temporary facilities will commence operations next to the Lazdynai and Naujoji Vilnia polyclinics, starting March 31.
They are expected to be open from 08:00 to 20:00 on weekdays, but could also operate on weekends depending on demand.
According to the Health Ministry guidelines, the clinics admit people aged 18–60 in Vilnius who receive an electronic referral from their GPs and are experiencing symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (chills, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing), and elevated temperatures (37.8 degrees and more).
When a patient goes to one of the fever clinics, they will have their temperature measured, receive a general blood test and C-reactive protein analysis, and a chest x-ray.
A nasal swab will also be taken to test for Covid-19. Patients will receive further treatment if necessary.
“In just three business days we've set up an algorithm of operations for two fever clinics, provided the necessary facilities, recruited staff and we will be able to accept patients on Tuesday,” Povilas Poderskis, the director of administration at Vilnius Municipality, is quoted in the press release.
“Patients in these clinics will not be treated in a stationary way, because these will be outpatient clinics,” he added. “People who do not have their own vehicle are provided with municipal transportation, since people with fever-like symptoms are prohibited from taking taxis or public transport.”
These establishments will only accept patients who have a fever and have not taken antipyretic medications prior to entering the clinic.
This is crucial to avoid overloading doctors and potential misuse of the clinics, according to the municipality. Patients who do not have a fever will be instructed to go home.
The fever clinics will be staffed with physiotherapists, dental assistants, and other personnel who will become clinic coordinators or assistants. The fever clinics will work in shifts – one three-person team is scheduled to work no longer than 4 hours.
According to the procedure set out by the Ministry of Health, once these fever clinics are open in Vilnius, everyone with a fever who may be infected with the coronavirus will have to directly contact their GP instead of calling the dedicated 1808 coronavirus hotline.
It is the GP who will send a referral to go to a fever clinic.
What is the procedure for each patient?
Coronavirus tests in the fever clinics will be similar to those performed at mobile drive-in checkpoints.
After remotely receiving a referral from their GP to go to a fever clinic, patients will be contacted by a coordinator who will tell them where and when they may arrive.
Once patients arrive at a fever clinic, they are forbidden to leave their car or open the car windows without permission.
They are also recommended to wear a medical mask. Each patient must have a proof of identity and an A4 sheet of paper with their mobile phone number. The patient will need to place the sheet with their phone number in a visible place inside the vehicle indicated by the coordinator. The person’s data will be verified through a phone call.
Patients will be allowed to exit their vehicles, leave them in a parking lot, and enter the fever clinic only with a permission from the coordinator.
After the examinations, depending on the patient's medical condition, they may be released to a private isolation facility or be referred to a coronavirus infection treatment centre.