From when and where to get tested to what options we have for care, most of us have pressing questions when it comes to COVID-19. Stephanie spoke with Dr. Jeremy Kenter from Physicians Premier ER to get the latest on the pandemic.

Why does Physicians Premier ER now have two entrances?

Studies have shown the best way to protect our patients and ourselves during this pandemic is to separate the Emergency Room into two different sections. One part is the treatment of COVID-19 related illness and the other section is for those with something entirely different. Both types of patients need expert level emergency care and we want to make sure that we can provide that care for our community.

Should I be tested if I have mild symptoms?

There are a few parts to this answer so let me start with the first one. The best way to stop the spread of this pandemic is if you have coronavirus, to not expose those around you. So right now, you have a few options if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, which can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

The first option is to totally quarantine yourself from everyone else in your life until your symptoms are gone for at least three days, which could easily last more than two weeks. This is very hard to do if you are living with roommates or you have a family.

The second option is to be tested for COVID-19 and know within 1-2 days whether you can regain some sort of normalcy in your daily life.

If our hospitals were overrun with sick patients and we literally had no room for anyone with mild symptoms, you would just have to wait it out, but that is not the case right now. We are doing a fantastic job in Texas with social isolation and right now our ER’s and Hospitals are not at max capacity. The best thing we can to do further stop the spread of this disease is to make sure those with COVID-19 don’t spread it to others.

Do you do COVID-19 testing?

Yes. We have two different options for testing. The first one is a blood test that will give you results in anywhere from 15-45 minutes. This one is very convenient because it can be done with just a few drops of blood from your finger, like checking your blood sugar, but you have to have symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 3 days.

The second test is a nasal swab, which is like the swab you get when you are getting checked for the flu. This test will be sent off to a private lab and right now takes about one day to get the results back.

We are hoping to get an additional test soon that would be the same as the nasal swab, but we can run it in our own lab and have the results back to you in about an hour.

What are the differences between cities that are hit hard with the coronavirus, like New York City, and cities like Austin?

We are extremely lucky to be a city in which we are not as closely packed NYC, and this might be the one time we are glad we don’t have good public transportation. Since most everyone is driving single-passenger vehicles, we are less likely to spread the coronavirus to others than if we had an extensive subway system. Similar to what I said earlier, right now in NYC, they are so overrun with sick patients, that if you have mild symptoms you should just stay home and wait it out. However, we are fortunate enough to have this time to continue our social isolation and test patients who have symptoms, as to not spread to others.

How safe is it to come to the ER for things other than COVID-19?

I personally feel that you are extremely safe to come to any one of our ERs because of the measures we have taken to keep you safe. Like we talked about earlier with our separate entrance and treatment areas, we also give everyone a mask upon entry and use strict guidelines to decontaminate each room after use. This way you can feel at ease with either your COVID-19 related symptoms or any other reason for which you need to seek health care.

Physicians Premier ER has multiple Austin-area locations to serve you as well as a location in Clear Lake. For more details, you can go to

Sponsored by Physicians Premier ER. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.