COVID-19: What You Need to Know About Covonavirus

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At Graybill Medical Group, the safety and well-being of our patients and staff are our top priority. We are in close contact with local and state health officials and are closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to remain vigilant against the virus. In this ever-changing climate, we are mindful that you are concerned and looking for answers. We will continue to post updates here, and encourage you to check back for more information.

Updated March 30, 2020

The California Department of Public Health today announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. California now has 4,643 confirmed cases. For more information on COVID-19 and California’s response visit the California Department of Public Health website at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx.

The entire News Release is available at the following link:
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR20-036.aspx

Is Graybill staying open? 
Yes. With the exception of our Ramona Office, which is temporarily closed due to the current coronavirus situation, all Graybill Offices are remaining open. Some of our offices have temporarily changed their hours. Please check www.graybill.org for your office’s current hours. 

I would rather not come to the office. Do you offer telehealth?
Yes! We are pleased to offer telehealth appointments through Doxy.me. Telehealth offers a convenient alternative to traditional in-person office visits, and allows you to visit your doctor from any location using your smartphone, Ipad, or other smart device. To schedule a telehealth appointment, call 866-228-2236 and let our Call Center Representative know that you prefer a telehealth appointment.

What should I do if I am infected or believe I am infected with COVID-19?
If you have traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 within the last 14 days or had close contact (within 6 feet/2 meters) with someone who has been laboratory confirmed to have COVID-19 and developed a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should:

  • Call your Graybill physician or advanced practitioner and seek medical advice—it is important that you call ahead before going to a Graybill office or hospital emergency and tell them about your recent travel or close contact and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others—do not go to work, school, or travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Your Graybill physician or advanced practitioner will work with the health department to determine if you need to be tested for the COVID-19 virus.

Is Graybill Medical Group screening patients for the virus?
Yes. We are screening all patients to determine any possible exposure to the coronavirus (the virus that causes COVID-19). When you call to make an appointment you will be asked if you:

1) are experiencing signs of lower respiratory infection (cough and shortness of breath)
2) have a fever
3) have recently traveled overseas to an area affected by COVID*
4) have been in contact with a known confirmed coronavirus patient*

*As the situation evolves and community spread becomes more likely, it will become increasingly possible to contract coronavirus without travel or known contact.

Upon your arrival. When you arrive at any Graybill office, your temperature will be taken. If you weren’t screened via telephone, you will be asked to complete a short Travel and Viral questionnaire.

What extra precautions are you taking to protect patients from COVID-19?
While it is safe to come to any Graybill office for your medical needs, we have implemented the following guidelines to protect all of our patients, especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 alerts have been place at all ports of entry in Graybill facilities.
  • If you are determined to be a possible coronavirus carrier, we will provide you with a mask and ask you to wait outside or in your car.
  • Those patients who need assistance, i.e., pediatric patients or the elderly), may bring only one

Can I get tested for Coronavirus at a Graybill facility?
At this time, we are not performing coronavirus testing on patients at our facilities. We are working closely with local public health authorities and our local hospitals to arrange for testing if it is indicated.

Can I come in to make an appointment?
No, we’d prefer you schedule your visit through our Call Center at 866-228-2236. When you do, our staff will screen you to determine your most appropriate course of action. If it is determined that you may have been exposed to coronavirus, we will have you speak with an Advanced Practitioner (Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner) regarding your symptoms and your individual situation. You may be directed to 1) stay at home in self-isolation, 2) schedule a visit to one your primary care provider, or 3) go to the hospital Emergency Room.

If you do come to Graybill without calling ahead and believe you have symptoms or have had risk of exposure, please wear a mask to protect those around you.

What if I may have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus?
If you have had close contact with someone who is confirmed to have, or is being evaluated for, coronavirus, the World Health Organization recommends the following:

  • Self-separate by staying at least six feet away from others.
  • Monitor your health starting from the day you first had close contact with that person
  • Continue monitoring for 14 days after you last had close contact with that person
  • Watch for these signs and symptoms:
  • Fever (take your temperature twice a day)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • If you develop a fever or any of these symptoms, call your health care provider immediately and inform them of your close contact with someone who is confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, coronavirus
  • If you do not have any symptoms, you can continue with your daily activities as normal

What if I’ve been evaluated for coronavirus and don’t need to be hospitalized?
 Stay home except to get necessary medical care

  • Remain at least six feet from others in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your health care provider to let them know you’re being evaluated for coronavirus
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then you wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, utensils, cups, etc.
  • Monitor symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if the illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing)

What can I do to stay healthy
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently developing a vaccine, though it could be more than a year until one becomes available.

While scientists work to develop a vaccine, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Cover your entire mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, t­­­­hen throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Know your risk
The California Department of Public Health recommends that people at higher risk take precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19.

You may be at higher risk if you:

  • Are over age 65
  • Have an underlying health condition, regardless of age, such as congestive heart failure, diabetes or lung disease
  • Have an impaired or weakened immune system

For those whose loved ones are being cared for in a long-term care setting, it’s important to consider postponing or using alternative methods for visitation, such as video conferencing.

Additionally, it’s important to restrict visiting a long-term facility if you or any of your visiting family members exhibit a fever or symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, sore throat or shortness of breath), have traveled internationally within the past 14 days to a high-risk COVID-19 country or have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Unlike with the flu, younger children do not seem to be as seriously affected by COVID-19 as other vulnerable populations.

Doctor’s notes
The CDC and other public health agencies recommend that employers remove the requirement to have a doctor’s note in order to return to work after recovering from a respiratory or other illness. Graybill doctors are following this protocol with the following exceptions: If you had a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or were deemed a Patient Under Investigation (PUI), your Graybill doctor will be happy to provide a return-to-work note for your employer.

Many schools in San Diego are closed until early April. While we would like to accommodate requests for a doctor’s note for children to return to schools currently operating, Graybill doctors are unable to provide such notes at this time. We advise you to wait until your child is free from symptoms before returning to school.

How to get care
If you’re comfortable coming to scheduled appointments (unrelated to COVID-19), please do so. We are taking every precaution to keep you safe. If you would like to reschedule your appointment, please call our Call Center at 866-228-2236.

Class cancellations
In the past few days, both Governor Gavin Newsom and San Diego city leaders ordered the statewide and citywide cancellation or postponement of gatherings of 250 or more people at least through the end of March. Even smaller gatherings — where attendees cannot keep six feet apart from each other — should be canceled or postponed. For these reasons, we have canceled our Weigh to Go, Living with Diabetes, and Medicare 101 classes until further notice.

What is COVID-19?
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 last December in Wuhan, China.

How does COVID-19 spread?
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 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.

Should I be concerned?
According to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego County’s general population is at low risk of COVID-19. The County is working to protect the public’s health and prevent the disease from spreading locally. This is an emerging situation. The County will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Get the latest updates from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency

What are COVID-19 symptoms?
Patients infected with COVID-19 virus have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms that include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

These symptoms may appear within 2-14 days after exposure.

Why did California declare a state of emergency?
On March 4, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to be able to draw all available resources such as supplies and funding when necessary. It does NOT mean you should panic or that there has been a wide spread of the disease in our state.

Latest updates from the California Department of Public Health

How can I protect myself?
By taking a few simple steps, you can protect your health and the health of your loved ones, as well as help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, flu and other viral diseases:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner, especially after you cough or sneeze. CDC VIDEO: What You Need to Know About Handwashing
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • You do not need to wear a mask unless you have symptoms.

What should I do if I am sick?
To keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should

  • Stay at home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

For the latest updates regarding COVID-19, please refer to:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
California Department of Public Health
San Diego County
Riverside County

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