Last Thursday I felt uncomfortable. Stuffy nose, coughing, tearing. Feels like a cold. I took my body temperature, it was 37.4 (99.3 F). Given the current situation, I don’t wanna make trouble in the beginning. So I chose to stay at home for one day. Keep myself from others and see how it goes.
Next day, it went worse. Joint pain, feel fever, tearing, runny nose. Took body temperature again, 38 (100.4 F). Seems I had to see a doctor.
Before that, I called them to see if there are any instructions I should follow. Like, will they send an ambulance to pick me up? They said relax. Wear your mask and take a taxi.
The fever clinic is located in a separate building, near the east door of RenJi Hospital. The normal clinic is near the north door. The procedure is, take body temperature, then fill an application and sign an agreement. The application was supposed to be filled through WeChat. It will be a disaster if you don’t have one. It is mostly about, have you ever contacted anyone who has (or may has) COVID-19? Have you ever been out of Shanghai during the last two weeks? How did you get to the hospital? etc. The agreement tells you that, given the current situation, fever clinics have a lot of mandatory tests, like COVID-19 tests (actually there are three COVID-19 tests, IgM, IgG and PCR). If you are not satisfied with the tests, then no fever clinic.
Then it goes to body temperature. The thermometer is a mercury glass thermometer. You know, a patient should hold it for like 5 minutes. During this period, apparently no one can put a mask on. So here comes the most impact scene. A bunch of undiagnosed patients, sitting together without masks, holding a thermometer in their mouth, looking at each other…
The clinic cost is 27, 6 for copay and the national health insurance covered 21. Before seeing a doctor, there are a lot of tests to run. One blood sample for CBC. One nose sample for influenza A and B. One PCR test. The PCR test kit includes two swabs, one to nose, one to throat. This test is the only one operated by a nurse. I guess most people can’t do this to themself. To be honest, the swab goes really deep. I want to sneeze when swabbing the nose, and feel nausea when swabbing the throat. And there was a CT scan after the sampling.
Regarding the cost. 250 CNY (36 USD) for CT scan, 20 CNY (2.88 USD) for CBC, 80 CNY (11.53 USD) for COVID-19 antibody test (include IgM and IgG), 120 CNY (17.29 USD) for COVID-19 PCR test, 60 CNY (8.65 USD) for supplies. That’s 532 CNY (76.67 USD) in total. All goes to the insurance, no copay.
After tests, it took me 20 minutes to get the result. CBC shows COVID-19 IgM, IgG negative, WBC and neutrophils goes high, Influenza A and B negative. Looks like bacterial infections. Meanwhile, the nurse told me that PCR will take at least one day. I could read the report through WeChat.
Finally, I got some pills for the fever. Two box of Cefdinir, 50mg * 12pc, 45.84 CNY (6.61 USD) for each. Two boxes of Paracetamol, 12 pc, 9.69 CNY (1.4 USD) for each. Two boxes of some traditional Chinese medicine. I even can’t translate it, you could take a look if feels interesting. That’s 211.06 CNY (30.42 USD) in total. The copay is 18.5 CNY (2.67 USD).
Briefly, the fever clinic in Shanghai looks good. Quite affordable with the national health insurance. Without it, it will cost 770 CNY (110.97 USD). Maybe that’s not too much to the people in the USA, but really a lot of money to the people in China. No free test for COVID-19. There is only one thing which really bothers me. A bunch of patients sitting together without masks. Does this really make sense?