— Wed., March 18th, 2020 Update —
TO OUR PATIENTS: With the recent and increasing shelter in place orders across our state, we want to assure you that we have implemented TeleMedicine capabilities to ensure uninterrupted care and access to your prescriptions.
During these trying and turbulent times, and the rapidly evolving situation concerning the Coronavirus pandemic, we want you to know that we are here to continue our exceptional care with unwavering resolve. Your health and safety have always been our top priority. We have been working closely with the CDC, federal, state and local agencies to implement the latest recommendations and guidelines. Until otherwise instructed, our clinics will remain open and able to see our patients. We have implemented additional health/safety protocols to ensure that social distancing is practiced at the clinics. So if you are scheduled for an appointment, please keep that appointment. If you are unable to make your appointment because of any number of reasons, your provider will reach out to you on the same day of your scheduled appointment for a TeleMedicine appointment to ensure that all of your medications will be continued. Check our website for the latest information as we continue to provide the most current updates.
What is the Coronavirus?
The Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a new Coronavirus (CoV) that causes COVID-19, the 2019 Coronavirus Disease. This virus comes from a larger family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to the more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Since the incubation period of this virus is 2-14 days after exposure, symptoms will start to appear during that time.
What are the symptoms?
The top three reported symptoms of COVID-19 are: Fever, Cough and Dispnea (shortness of breath). In a small population of patients, mainly those over age 65 and those with underlying chronic health conditions (Heart Disease, Lung Disease & Diabetes), these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain and other more serious conditions. The symptoms that are not consistent with COVID-19 (reported in less than 5% of cases are: sore throat, sneezing and runny nose.
How is it transmitted?
The virus originated as a non-human virus communicated in populations of bats. However, the first infections of humans originated in the Wuhan region of China, and were linked to a live animal market. Now, the virus spreads human to human via airborne transmission through respiratory droplets produced when a person infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. The transmission of the virus happens between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet). That is why CDC recommends that infected patients be quarantined either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of transmitting the virus to others.
Is there anything we can do to slow the spread?
Yes! The White House has released a very helpful PDF (The Presindent’s Coronavirus Guidelines For America) outlining recommendations for how to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Also, here is a summary of helpful recommendations to protect you and your family:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Maintain social distancing (6 ft) from all people other than your family.
- Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based (60-90%) hand sanitizers are also effective.
- Stay home when you’re sick (except to get medical care). Keep sick children home from school or day care.
- Cough or sneeze into a barrier (tissue, elbow, etc) to prevent spread of respiratory particles. Wash your hands afterward.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Rest, hydrate, eat healthy and practice mindfulness/meditation to help manage stress.
- Additional guidance from the CDC.
What are the clinics doing to protect patients and staff?
We have gone above and beyond the CDC guidelines for protection. We have trained our staff to screen patients for symptoms of acute respiratory illness. We have implemented strict policies for personal protection equipment and sanitation/cleaning practices. We have rearranged our waiting rooms, patient rooms and common areas to facilitate proper social distancing and we have created strategies to care for patients who have symptoms away from the clinics. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that all patients feel comfortable to keep their regularly scheduled appointments.
What if I can’t make it to my appointment?
As stated earlier, we have implemented all the knowledge, technology, and training to conduct TeleMedicine so that you can get the care you need without leaving the comfort of your home. If you cannot make your scheduled appointment, your provider will contact you to ensure that all care, including your medications, can continue without lapse.
Are there any resources that I can check for COVID-19?
Absolutely, we are glad you asked. Information is critical to help avoid panic and stop stigma. The following resources will provide helpful information.
- Stop the Spread of Germs — CDC resource on preventing the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19.
- Manage Anxiety & Stress — CDC resource on managing mental health and coping during COVID-19 for children and caregivers.
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus — The Child Mind Institute offers suggestions and resources for talking to young people about COVID-19.
- 10 Things You Can Do to Manage COVID-19 at Home – See Video Below