Online Risk Assessment Tool for Guidance on COVID-19

March 22, 2020
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DETROIT – Henry Ford Health System’s online COVID-19 risk assessment tool at, is providing the public an additional way to determine how to respond to concerns about risks and symptoms of the coronavirus spreading through communities.

The questions in the online assessment, which launched Friday and was used by more than 300 people in less than 24 hours, are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and intended to offer general instructions on whether to stay home, how to care for yourself and family members who are ill, whether risk factors or symptoms warrant medical attention or emergency care, and more.

The tool is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, and it isn’t a substitute for response to emergency symptoms such as trouble breathing. Call 911 in case of emergency symptoms and avoid visiting doctors’ offices or urgent cares without calling ahead.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath. The majority of people with COVID-19 will recover.

“The question on the minds of so many are along the lines of, ‘When should I see my doctor? When should a loved one go to an emergency room or call 911?’ ‘How do I know if it’s a cold, the flu or something more serious,’ ” said Dr. Betty Chu, associate chief clinical officer and chief quality officer for Henry Ford.

The assessment tool doesn’t answer those specific questions but helps determine individual risks and needs. Based on responses, it provides information on next steps to take.

Anyone with mild symptom such as fever and cough, should stay home, convalesce, treat illness similarly to influenza with fluids, rest and monitoring. If exposure is known or suspected, self-quarantine to protect others.

“The need for information is understandable,” Dr. Chu said. “Given the public health crisis we are responding to, it’s critical the public understand that the priority must be responding to those most at risk, those with severe symptoms and the highest risk of exposure,” she said.

“In a perfect world we would want to offer every single person a COVID test” in order to have a fuller picture of the community spread, she said, but “because of limitations in testing and limitations in supply we are trying to prioritize the sickest patients,” Dr. Chu said.

One of the most important messages is to prevent the spread.

“We can’t say often enough that everyone should be practicing social distancing, staying home as much as possible, especially if sick, and self-quarantining if exposure is known or suspected,” she said. “The more we limit social contact and the spread of the virus, the more quickly we can get through this.”

In addition to the online assessment tool, Henry Ford offers:

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