We understand that our patients are concerned about the new Coronavirus. We are actively tracking the disease. There is limited information available about the disease so these guidelines will be updated as new information becomes available that impacts our approach to the outbreak. As an outpatient practice, we do not have the test kits to test for the virus and do not anticipate receiving them in the future. If you have fever, cough, and shortness of breath (defined here as shortness of breath with minimal activity that is not your baseline level of function) we recommend you proceed to your local ER where you can have imaging done of your lungs if necessary and be admitted to the hospital if necessary. For management of fever and respiratory symptoms including cough please refer to "cold symptom care guide" on our website. This information can be found under the "Health Information" tab. This policy is in place to keep all our patients as well as our staff safe.
If you have fever or cough for less than a week, we can provide influenza testing. The medication to specifically treat flu is only useful within a week of symptom onset and that is the basis for this recommendation. If you have fever or cough for one to two weeks, we recommend you follow our online recommendations for symptom control found under "cold symptom care guide" on this website. If you have been ill for over two weeks, we can arrange for an appointment to evaluate you for a bacterial infection. If you have respiratory symptoms and would like to come in to the office we ask that you start by requesting a telephone consult with your physician. This will allow us to gather as much detail as necessary to decide on the next step. If your doctor thinks that an in person visit makes sense we will schedule you for a visit. We will also be offering flu testing and strep testing as needed.
We ask that you work with us to help keep other patients and our staff healthy. If you call for a "sick visit" and you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath please tell our staff this when you call. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO PATIENTS WITH KNOWN ALLERGIES OR ASTHMA WHO ARE HAVING TYPICAL SYMPTOMS. We plan to use one specific exam room for "sick visits" during this outbreak and we plan to fast track "sick" patients through the office. When you arrive for a "sick visit" (fever or cough) please call the office from the hallway and one of our staff will meet you at the back entrace (Suite 810 not 805) to bring you into the office. If you arrive for your "sick visit" and the exam room is in use, you will be asked to go to the back waiting area until seen.
All patients with fever or cough or shortness of breath are asked to wear gloves and a mask when entering our office. The mask should cover both your mouth and nose and remain in place the entire time you are in the office, including while you wait to be seen in the exam room. Since the coronavirus can live on surfaces for days wearing gloves will make our infection control efforts easier.
To decrease our personal risk of exposure we need to limit the amount of time spent face to face with patients who may have Coronavirus. Being within 6 feet of a patient for an extended time or being coughed ON are means of transmission. If you have respiratory symptoms we will spend a limited amount of time face to face with you. You will not be asked, for example, to go to the front desk to check out.
Please do not combine a "sick visit" with a routine follow up visit since we cannot currently accommodate both during the same visit. We will not provide routine blood work during a "sick visit".
Please refer to posted specific information on our website "Cold Symptom Care Guide" about over the counter medications that can be taken for various symptoms related to colds and other respiratory infections. Send your physician a portal message if you have a respiratory illness and think you would benefit from a prescription medication. During this outbreak we will do our best to facilitate getting you medications you need for your illness without seeing you in the office.