FOX13 asks a doctor what to do if you start feeling like you may have symptoms of coronavirus

WATCH: What to do if you start feeling like you may have symptoms of coronavirus

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — What do you do if you start feeling like you may have symptoms of coronavirus?

The protocol has changed since we first began hearing about cases of the coronavirus.

In the beginning, if you had questions or thought you may be showing symptoms, professionals wanted you to contact your health department.

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But now, the health department is overwhelmed and the recommendation is to call your primary care doctor.

“This is similar to the flu in a lot of ways, but again because of the unknown everyone is going to think the worst,” Dr. Mark Castellaw with Baptist Medical Group told FOX13.

He wasn’t downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus, just advising against becoming hysterical.

“Unless you’re in extreme duress, don’t just show up at the doctor’s office. Don’t just show up in the emergency room. Contact someone first,” he said.

If you are in serious need, go to the ER. But if it can wait, you don’t want to risk making yourself worse or infecting others. You’ll want to call your doctor, and at that point, they’ll let you know what’s next.

“Let them take some information from you,” Castellaw said. “We will contact the health department and triage you that way to see if you’re at risk, and even take it to the CDC if we’re in need of further opinion.”

FOX13 learned local hospitals do not have coronavirus test kits.

FOX13 reached out to St. Francis, Baptist, and Regional One Hospitals.

They said if a patient meets the criteria for testing, they’d draw blood and send it to a lab for testing.

The state said their goal right now is to have results within 24 to 48 hours of receiving a specimen for testing. But they said this is a rapidly evolving situation and those times may fluctuate as things move forward.