We know there are many questions and concerns surrounding the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There is unfortunately misinformation online and in the news with regard to getting tested for the coronavirus. Some patients are being advised to follow-up with their primary care doctor for testing.
At this time, under the suggestions of infectious disease specialists and government agencies, we do not recommend coming to our office for coronavirus testing. Currently, we do not have the test kits or enough supply of the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) to handle these requests. We are best able to serve our members and our patients by having our staff and providers remain healthy and our offices free of the virus. We can serve our community best by remaining open for routine follow-up visits, coordinating care via phone or telemedicine when appropriate, and especially for acute (non-coronavirus) visits. By remaining open to treat rashes, lacerations, sprains, and broken bones, etc, we will help to decrease the volume in the hospital’s emergency rooms allowing the providers there to focus on the acutely ill patients. It will also give patients a place to go with less risk of contamination and exposure to the coronavirus.
At this time, we recommend anyone with concerns for coronavirus infection use Prisma Health’s Virtual Visit platform at the following link: https://www.prismahealth.org/virtual-visit/. You can use code COVID19 for a free visit if it’s pertaining to coronavirus infection concerns. If indicated based on their evaluation, they will be able to order a test which can be obtained at their drive through testing site in Greenville. At this time, they are not accepting orders for this test from any providers not employed by Prisma Health but this could change as testing capacity increases.
We are still here for you and your medical needs! If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact our office via phone, email, or our website. We will help direct you to the appropriate facility if needed and will direct you to our office for care when appropriate. As always, we are available for follow-up and acute care as discussed previously.
Thank you all for your understanding and compassion during these difficult times.
~Palmetto Proactive Healthcare
Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. They are a group of respiratory viruses named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. There are currently seven different types of human coronaviruses, four of which are associated with mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold, and 3 can cause more severe acute respiratory syndromes. Although COVID-19 is similar to the other types of coronaviruses, it is unique in many ways and scientists are still learning more each day. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 3-6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.
If you were recently exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been in a place where an outbreak has occurred within the last two weeks, the following symptoms could indicate you have contracted COVID-19:
Unless your symptoms are severe, it is recommended you call your healthcare provider first before entering a healthcare facility. When speaking with a healthcare provider in-person or on the phone, be sure to note your symptoms, travel history, or if you were exposed to a person diagnosed with the virus.
The World Health Organization says 80% of people with COVID-19 have a mild form of the illness with cold- or flu-like symptoms. The people most likely to get seriously ill from this virus are people over 60 and/or those with pre-existing health conditions. It is estimated that for every 100 cases of COVID-19, between two and four people would die. This is very different from a coronavirus like SARS, where nearly ten in 100 sick people died from the illness.
Health officials in the U.S. do not recommend the use of masks among people not showing symptoms of COVID-19. People in places where spread is more likely, may have been instructed to wear masks to prevent infecting others and to possibly prevent getting ill from close contact in crowded places.
The following tips will help to prevent COVID-19 as well as other respiratory viruses:
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often. There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
Do not panic! If you are suddenly short of breath or find difficulty breathing, call 911 to ask for assistance. If the symptoms are mild, do not go to the ER. Instead notify your immediate family and contact Palmetto Proactive Healthcare for further advice and recommendations. We will do our best to triage you appropriately. At this time, there are no readily available test kits so rushing to the ER or our office will not give you an immediate diagnosis.
The CDC and WHO are probably the best sources of information and updates on COVID-19. Don’t rely on the news or social media for accurate information and recommendations. The CDC’s main COVID-19 page is probably the best single resource at this time.