Outpatient Management of COVID-19: Rapid Evidence Review

Anthony Cheng, Dominic Caruso, Craig McDougall
American Family Physician 2020 October 15, 102 (8): 478-486
Common presenting symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. However, patients may have a wide range of symptoms representing a spectrum of mild to severe illness. Symptoms in children tend to be milder and may include fever, cough, and feeding difficulty. The incubation period is two to 14 days, although symptoms typically appear within five days of exposure. Multiple testing modalities exist, but infection should be confirmed by polymerase chain reaction testing using a nasopharyngeal swab. There are no evidence- based treatments appropriate for use in the outpatient setting; management is supportive and should include education about isolation. In hospitalized patients, remdesivir should be considered to reduce time to recovery, and low-dose dexamethasone should be considered in patients who require supplemental oxygen. Overall, 85% of patients have mild illness, whereas 14% have severe disease requiring hospitalization, including 5% who require admission to an intensive care unit. Predictors of severe disease include increasing age, comorbidities, lymphopenia, neutrophilia, leukocytosis, low oxygen saturation, and increased levels of C-reactive protein, d-dimer, transaminases, and lactate dehydrogenase.

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