Corona Virus Update #4- 3/15/20- Office protocol and testing
A quick addendum to yesterday’s blog:
Patients with COVID-19 should be isolated from other household contacts in a different room, not share utensils, cups, plates, beverages or food with anyone else in the household, and wear a mask when entering common household areas. Caregivers who enter the room of a patient with COVID-19 should wear a mask.
Our office protocol will be changing as soon as our new no-contact thermometer arrives. When it does (hopefully Monday or Tuesday), we will lock the front door and ask patients to come in from the parking lot side of the building. A medical assistant will meet you at the door or in the parking lot (weather permitting) to check your temperature, possible COVID-19 exposure history, and possibly other vital signs. We ask that you not take Tylenol/acetaminophen, Advil/Motrin/ibuprofen or Aleve/naproxen for at least 4 hrs. before your visit. If you have a fever and worrisome symptoms, a high-risk medical history or a high-risk exposure, you will be given a mask and escorted to our isolation room for further treatment. A physician will see you in our isolation room or tent and do whatever cultures and treatment are needed. Otherwise, you may go to the waiting room as usual. We are awaiting the arrival of a tent that we will set up in the parking lot to treat patients who need isolation.
Testing- we are able to test for COVID-19 but this needs to be done thoughtfully. In general, if you are ill and think you may have COVID, call to make an appointment. There is no reason to be tested just because there is COVID virus in the area or because you flew in a plane or attended a conference or event or went to work or a store. We ask that you please not abuse this test or abuse us if we tell you we think you should defer testing.
Criteria for COVID testing:
You have symptoms of an acute respiratory syndrome (fever, new cough, new shortness of breath, muscle aches) and:
- Are 50 yrs or older
- Have a chronic condition (eg. heart, lung, kidney)
- Immunocompromised(eg. active cancer, solid organ transplant, immunosuppressive drugs, on dialysis, advanced HIV, diabetes)
- Living in congregate facilities (eg. dorms, fraternities, sororities, skilled nursing facilities, etc.)
- In the last 14 days before symptom onset, had
- Travel to or lived areas with widespread COVID-19 cases and/or suspected community spread
- Close contact, within 6 ft, for at least 10 minutes with a person with confirmed COVID-19 (time of exposure may be less if exposure to respiratory secretions was more intense)
- Direct contact with respiratory secretions of person with confirmed COVID-19.
If you are tested, you should self-quarantine for the 3-4 days needed until the tests come back. We will not be billing at the time of the office visit for patients who are seen in the isolation areas. The fee will be billed later.