COVID-19 and Telehealth: Prevention of Exposure in a Medically Complex Patient With a Mild Presentation

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7 Scopus citations


The novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. We discuss a less common presentation of COVID-19 in a patient where the use of telemedicine technology prevented the exposure of the healthcare team in an academic general pediatrics clinic. A medically complex 20-year-old male presented via virtual visit for unilateral eye redness and discharge. He received topical ophthalmic antibiotics for presumed acute bacterial conjunctivitis and was counseled on return precautions. Three days later, the patient developed shortness of breath, fever to 102.6°F, and chest pain. COVID-19 testing returned positive. Conjunctivitis is a presenting symptom in 32% of COVID-19 cases. Current evidence suggests that these patients may transmit their illness at the time of presentation. Using telehealth, we avoided exposure to a COVID-19–positive patient who would not have met criteria for testing or droplet precautions. Telehealth allows providers to triage patients, identifying those who need to be seen in person, thereby minimizing exposure. Transitioning toward virtual practice, particularly during a pandemic, prepares for the possibility of healthcare workers being quarantined but still able to provide care and minimizes exposure to asymptomatic patients or those with atypical symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-458
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Coronavirus
  • Pandemic
  • Telehealth
  • Telemedicine
  • Virtual medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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