Local doctor says primary care physicians should play bigger role in fight against COVID-19

Coronavirus

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Testing is one of the biggest concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the Erie County Department of Health has had the capability to conduct its own COVID-19 tests from the beginning, results have lagged far behind other urban areas in the state.

Much of that has to do with a nationwide shortage of tests, but it’s led to frustration among local patients, including Nadia Lynn Vazquez.

Nadia got sick on March 11. She had a high fever that wouldn’t break and chest discomfort. After seeing her primary care doctor the same day, and being tested for coronavirus, her symptoms grew worse.

Nadia went to the hospital four days later. It wasn’t until almost two weeks later that her test results came back positive.

Her father, Raul Vazquez, is a doctor at Urban Family Practice.

“These systems are antiquated. So they’re still trying to track, and that’s not what they’re prepared for,” Dr. Vazquez said. “So, you’ve got patients that call you, and say, I might have this. And doctors are sending people to the ER. ERs are telling them, call your primary. The Department of Health is saying ‘Call your primary in order to be tested.’ So, it’s real confusing for the patient, and you’re in the middle. You don’t have a primary care guiding you through that.”

Dr. Vazquez says primary care physicians should play a larger role in the fight against coronavirus. He suggests clearer instructions for patients and better communication.

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