With a rise in COVID-19 cases this summer having led to the deaths of patients who were isolating at home without medical support due to a lack of hospital capacity, some doctors have begun to call more aggressively for a downgrading of the disease's classification — to one on par with influenza — to enable the prompt treatment of suspected patients without them having to go through cumbersome procedures just to get a doctor's attention.

Given concerns that the virus would spread further if suspected COVID-19 patients with a fever or other symptoms crowded hospitals, such individuals currently have to call their home doctors or counseling centers for those with fevers to see if they’re deemed worthy of being given a PCR test.

Public health centers, which are tasked with various duties in the fight against the pandemic, are currently swamped with the processing of new cases, and in some instances it takes as long as a week before an infected patient gets clearance to receive necessary medical treatment from a designated hospital, some doctors say.