TESTING & SELF-QUARANTINE

We are getting a ton of outreach from patients recently about accessing COVID-19 testing and — more importantly — if they should be tested at all.

Let’s talk about whether or not you should be tested first:

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have had prolonged, close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, your first step should be to self-quarantine (please!) to avoid spreading any illness to others.  People in these situations should be tested.
    • For those with symptoms, we recommend getting tested on day 2-3 of symptoms; before or after may increase the risk of a false negative.
    • We recommend getting tested about 5 days after prolonged, close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, as there is a risk of a false negative if testing is done too soon after exposure.
  • If you have been close to someone who has been close to someone with confirmed COIVD-19, we recommend awaiting the results of your intermediary contact and to — ideally — quarantine until they get their results.  

Regarding how to access testing:

  • Anyone interested in molecular (PCR) COVID-19 testing here at the clinic must first fill out a brief screening questionnaire to gather information about their symptoms (if present), how long they’ve been going on, recent travel, and possible exposure to those who have recent COVID-19 diagnoses. Turnaround time is an unpredictable and averages ~3-5 days.  If you are interested in this service, please fill out the questionnaire here.  Once you complete the questionnaire, the confirmation page will give you a link on how to schedule the actual COVID-19 testing & link to FAQs regarding the testing.  In the meantime, if you are experiencing any symptoms whatsoever or have had prolonged contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, please self-quarantine, continue to practice good hand hygiene, and avoid spreading any illness to others. There is a $75 visit charge for COVID testing here at the clinic; the (additional) lab fee can be billed to your insurance or our lab vendor will bill you after the fact for $0-$100.
  • One of our colleague DPC clinics, Health Suite 110, is offering rapid antigen COVID testing for $75 (available Mon – Thurs at 1pm); if the rapid test is negative, we strongly recommend following it up with a molecular test (see above; the $75 visit charge would be waived but the lab fee would still apply). Let us know if you want to move forward with this option.
  • The state/local health departments are ramping up their ability to test (usually at no cost!) but have some stipulations regarding who can be tested (i.e. symptoms, healthcare workers, exposures, etc.):


Regarding ending your quarantine:

  • The CDC has a website that is frequently updated that can give guidance on this subject.  Their recommendations are (updated November 9, 2020):
    • If you (yourself) tested positive for COVID-19, you may end quarantine 10 days after you tested positive or 10 days after the first day of your symptoms so long as your symptoms have resolved and you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours.
    • If you have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the CDC has a helpful website to help you figure out when you can come out of quarantine.  Generally speaking, you should stay home and quarantine for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19

 

CLINC OPERATIONS

We are a small clinic (for better or worse!) and have to adjust things these days to make sure that we can keep everyone in the clinic and those we care for safe.  After all, if we all have to quarantine at home or get sick, we can’t be around to serve you for the really, really important things that are still happening as this pandemic continues — like concerning lumps, prescription refills, flu vaccines, and all that jazz!

As such, here’s how we’ve adjusted things (and, yes, like you, we can’t wait to go back to “normal” where we can see anyone for anything in person.  We really miss seeing you all and getting to know our new patients in person!) 

  • Like normal times:
    • Feel free to email us with any concerns that pop up!
    • We invite phone calls during normal business hours (we do our best to answer all of them — but sometimes we’re with a patient or on the other line; leave a message and we’ll call back)!
    • Your physician is available evenings and weekends (members only!) by following the voicemail prompts. Please let us know if this sytem ever gives you an error or doesn’t work (#techfailssometimes).
  • Unlike normal times:
    • We are holding off on scheduling in-person “well” visits — annual physicals, well child checks, pap smears, etc. — until the infection rate in the metro is below 5%.
      • We are still happy to connect via phone or video with any prevention-oriented questions or health goals you want to chat about!
      • If your child urgently needs a form (like a HeadStart form, a school physical, etc.) filled out, please reach out to us to coordinate.
    • As such, all “visits” with your physician will be done via phone or telemedicine.
    • During your phone or video visit, your physician will use his/her discretion and recommend in-person visits for things that can’t adequately be addressed via phone or video.
      • We still sometimes need to check vital signs, to listen to someone’s heart, get labs, give vaccines, and/or perform basic physical exams; COVID-19 doesn’t change that.
      •  Anyone coming in for an in-person visit will be called prior to their visit to cofirm that they are not currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and that they have no known prolonged, close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
      • Depending on weather and the sensitivity of the exam to be performed, we may recommend a “car visit,” where we perform the elements of the visit in our parking lot either by your car or in our pop-up tent.  (Yes, we also think this is a bit odd, but — hey — 2020 is a weird year and we’re doing what we can to keep everyone safe.)
    • As a reminder, in-person exams only occur if your physician deems it necessary; please be nice to Lauran and Mary when they enforce this!  They’re doing this to protect everyone — including you!  

NEWS & UPDATES

November 9, 2020:

– Pfizer announced this morning that their vaccine — in the initial efficacy analysis — looks like it is 90% effective; however, mass production and distribution is still quite a ways away.

KS and MO are still seeing very high rates of infection — and they seem to be increasing.

– The MidAmerica Regional Council (MARC) has a pretty good dashboard you can keep an eye on regarding cases in the metro area.

– The October 15, 2020 edition of The American Family Physician reports that “there are no evidence-based treatments for COVID-19 that are appropriate for use in the outpatient setting; management is still supportive.”  In plain English: while we are seeing advancements in treatment in hospitalized patients, there just isn’t enough research to help guide us on how to best treat those who are not hospitalized.