What's The Risk Of Catching COVID-19 If I Go To An Urgent Care?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 3:58 PM, Apr 16, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Karen Bayse asks: 

"You think you're having a medical emergency like a heart attack or asthma attack and need to go to the ER or an urgent care. What is the risk?"

Newsy asked the experts: Jason Farley, professor of nursing, infectious disease-trained nurse epidemiologist and nurse practitioner in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing and Medicine; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention, HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Mary Schmidt, president of Schmidt and Libby Health Advisory Group, board-certified infectious diseases doctor, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and clinical faculty at the Northern Virginia Inova. 

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 through an ER or urgent care facility is high. 

"Many health care facilities are masking everybody that comes in just as an extra layer of protection. Certainly, I would not avoid going to a hospital right now if you need to be seen or need to go to any sort of medical office. We have a lot of people trained to do the right thing every day to keep people safe, whether or not they have coronavirus or they are coming in for another reason," Katie Cary said.

"I would say the ER is the most highly contaminated place because of all the potential COVID patients there. Even urgent cares are getting a lot of people with respiratory symptoms to be tested," Dr. Mary Schmidt said.

If you have a question about your risk, email us a video asking the question to