The service is generally $35, but the fee will be waived for any patient who thinks they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the hospital said.

Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta is offering free virtual care appointments for those in the community experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of the new coronavirus.

Virtual visits are being encouraged by the hospital to help meet demand whole reducing possible transmission of the virus, according to a press release from Dignity Health.

To use the “Virtual Care Anywhere” service, go to www.dignityhealth.rog/virtualcareanywhere and download the app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You can also call (855) 356-8053 and use the coupon code COVID19.

The service is generally $35, but the fee will be waived for any patient who thinks they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the release states.

After requesting an appointment, a virtual care provider will contact the patient once they are available, typically within 15 to 30 minutes, according to the press release, although high demand may result in longer wait times.

The service is on-demand and doesn’t accept appointments.

“Health care experts are recommending virtual urgent care for patients with less severe symptoms of COVID-19 such as low-grade fever, a cough, or shortness of breath,” according to the hospital. People with mild symptoms who are evaluated virtually by a medical professional can avoid interacting with others and ensure they receive the appropriate level of care in the right setting.

“Virtual visits allow for timely care delivery without putting other patients or our clinicians at risk for contracting the virus,” said Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta’s president Rodger Page. “And while it’s not intended to replace in-person care visits, it will help reduce patient volumes at care sites so we can serve those who need care the most.”

Those who are experiencing severe symptoms of respiratory illness, such as high fever or difficulty breathing should call 911 or visit the nearest care site. Patients are encouraged to call their medical facility in advance to notify them of any COVID-19 symptoms before visiting in person.