Coronavirus: What you should know
We’re Here to Help
We are here to help keep you and your family healthy and safe as we navigate Coronavirus (COVID-19) together. We understand you probably have a lot of questions right now, from how to stay healthy to if it’s safe to come in for your scheduled doctor’s appointments. As we collaborate with government agencies and health departments, we will continue to update this post with the latest information and guidance for Advantia Health patients and our partners.
For more information that is regularly updated, please visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website. This has many helpful resources and answers including:
- What you can do to PREVENT getting sick, like cleaning your hands often, not touching your face, and practicing social distancing, which means avoiding close contact with others and groups, especially those who are sick.
- What to do if you ARE sick, like staying home unless you need to get medical care.
Here are topics our patients have had questions about that might also help you:
How does the virus spread and what are the symptoms?
COVID-19 is spread through close personal contact (like shaking hands or touching a surface with the virus on it). Symptoms can range from very mild to severe and are similar to many other illnesses like the flu, which makes it hard to know if you have it. That’s why having a history of travel or being exposed to someone who has COVID-19 is an important way to tell the difference. Common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure and based on current data, many cases are mild, and people fully recover.
Am I at risk for COVID-19?
For most people, the immediate risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is thought to be low. However, if you have a history of recent travel to an area with an outbreak, you may be at higher risk. If you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 then you may also be at higher risk. If this is the case, stay home for 14 days and seek care if you start to experience symptoms. Smart habits like frequent hand washing and social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) will also lower your risk of getting sick.
Out of hand sanitizer? Don’t worry, washing your hands for 30 seconds with warm water and soap is effective in preventing the virus. Cleaning your cell phone with a disinfecting wipe is another great habit to practice!
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
If you have the symptoms listed above (high fever, dry cough, shortness of breath) and have been exposed to someone with the virus, please contact your primary care provider who can advise you on whether you need testing if you have symptoms and what you should do next. If you do feel sick, we first suggest self-quarantining to help avoid spreading the virus. In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider AND your local health department.
What do I do if I need a doctor’s note to work from home?
Please call the office for a doctor’s note should you need one and we will do our best to get you one.
Should I avoid traveling right now?
Our government is currently discouraging any nonessential travel and has issued travel advisories for many countries. This is especially important for the elderly and anyone with serious medical conditions, and cruise travel is specifically advised against because of increased risk of spread in this environment.
Coming into Our Clinics
Should I come in for my appointment?
Our clinics are currently open for many in-person visits and all are also offering telemedicine video consultations. Effective Monday March 30th, please note that all non-urgent visits and elective procedures must either be shifted to telemedicine or rescheduled. If you have an urgent visit scheduled and have not had virus symptoms or recent exposure, please know you can come in and see us for your scheduled appointment. If you are worried and think you need to cancel, call us first and let us tell you about how we are making sure everyone stays safe. This is especially important for our pregnant patients, as we recommend you continue your planned prenatal care to ensure you stay on track for a healthy pregnancy.
If you are scheduled for a non-urgent appointment, please call the office to see if a video telemedicine appointment is an option.
How are you keeping your clinics safe and preventing the spread of the virus?
We want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe and to stop the virus from spreading. We are taking many steps to ensure everyone’s safety, including:
- Frequent deep cleanings of all of our facilities with medical-grade disinfectants and cleaning products
- Screening all patients, providers, and employees before they come into our clinics
- Training all of our care providers and employees on COVID-19 so they are prepared to help with any virus-related questions or situations
What about elective procedures?
At this time we are rescheduling all elective procedures. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider for more information and/or to reschedule.
Can I bring anyone with me to my appointment?
We are asking our patients not to bring any guests to appointments right now. We understand there are a couple of exceptions, for example if this person is medically necessary or if they serve as an interpreter. If this is the case, please call us ahead of time to let us know who you are bringing and we can help make sure it’s safe. We know it’s exciting to bring a grandparent or spouse to your ultrasound appointment, but right now we need to protect everyone as much as we can.
Getting Virtual Care
Can I change my scheduled appointment to a call or video (telemedicine) visit?
All of our clinics now offer telemedicine appointments. Depending on the reason for your visit, we might be able to provide care virtually and help you avoid any unnecessary trips to one of our clinics. Simply call your office to schedule a video-based appointment with your provider today.
Common appointments that are offered through telemedicine include: contraception counseling, Coronavirus (COVID-19) screening, reviewing lab results, refilling prescriptions, mental wellness counseling, and more.
Telemedicine: What to Expect
- Many insurance companies don’t require copays for telemedicine visits right now
- Our providers can screen you for COVID-19 virtually to determine if you need testing
- If you have an annual exam scheduled, you can receive preventive care virtually now and come in later for a physical exam (if you need a pap smear, etc.)
- Telemedicine is private and easy to use
- All you need is a smartphone or a computer with a camera!
Please note: you can still come in for an in-person visit for OB and urgent care needs that can’t be completed virtually.
Pregnancy & Prenatal Care
What if I am pregnant? Am I at an increased risk?
At this time, we do not know if pregnant women are more likely or at a higher risk than the rest of the general public. Currently, available data has not provided direct evidence that COVID-19 increases the risk of miscarriage, increases risk of early pregnancy loss, or is passed to the baby during pregnancy. However, we do know that pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that can increase their risk of infection and the severity of their illness, like with the flu or respiratory infections. Because we are still learning about COVID-19, we recommend that you take all of the same precautions as the general public, as well as continue with your prenatal appointments and care. Don’t hesitate to call your provider’s office if you have any questions or concerns.
You might also be thinking about vitamins and nutrition to help avoid getting sick. Know that a well rounded diet along with your prenatal vitamin has everything your body needs. You can also take Vitamin C or eat foods with Vitamin C like oranges, kiwis and strawberries.
Advantia Health Practices
Ob-Gyn & Associates
Advantia OB-GYN Shady Grove
Simmonds, Martin & Helmbrecht
Friendship Heights Women’s Health Associates
Comprehensive Women’s Health
Women’s Health Specialists
Advantia Spine & Pain Center
Reiter, Hill, Johnson & Nevin
Physicians & Midwives
Fairfax OB-GYN Associates
Women’s Health and Surgery Center
Reiter, Hill, Johnson & Nevin
Reiter, Hill, Johnson & Nevin
Illinois & Missouri
Heartland Women’s Healthcare