Information about COVID-19 Coronavirus
Updated on March 23, 2020
Your health and the health of our community are our highest priority. Primary Care Medical Center is here to support you and your family during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and to provide uninterrupted healthcare. We are providing the following information to help keep our patients and employees informed.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
I want to see my provider but am worried about going to the clinic and exposing myself or others to COVID-19. What can I do?
Primary Care Medical Center now offers virtual visits to existing patients who want to receive quality care from providers without traveling to our clinic. Virtual visits, also known as telehealth, can take place on your smartphone or computer. No special software, apps or passwords are needed. In most cases, your copay will be the same as a regular office visit copay.
If you have a scheduled virtual visit appointment, Primary Care Medical Center will send you a text or email link approximately 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Once you click on the link, a browser window will open, and you’ll be placed in your provider’s virtual waiting room. Your provider will start your appointment soon thereafter.
To schedule a virtual visit, please call us at (270) 759-9200.
Please note, we’re currently experiencing high call volumes and wait times may be extended. Stay on the line, and we’ll be with you as soon as we’re able.
Who should be tested for COVID-19?
Due to national shortages of testing materials, recommendations have been developed to prioritize testing for certain patients. Testing guidelines will likely continue to change as testing and new information becomes available. Patients who do not exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath) should not seek testing at emergency departments, as they will expose themselves to potential illness and are unlikely to be tested.
In deciding who to test for COVID-19, your physician may consider clinical symptoms, results of other tests, and if the COVID-19 results will change clinical management and infection control measures.
At this time, the following patients will be prioritized for COVID-19 testing:
- • Critically ill patients receiving ICU-level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure regardless of travel history or close contact with suspected or confirmed COVD-19.
- • Any persons with fever (subjective or confirmed) and/or symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness and a history of close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
- a) “Close contact” is defined as being within approximately six feet from a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period (more than about 10 minutes) or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (being coughed on).
- b) Physicians and other health care personnel if there has been exposure to a person with suspected COVID-19 without laboratory confirmation. Even mild signs and symptoms (e.g., sore throat) of COVID-19 should be evaluated in potentially exposed health care personnel, given their extensive and close contact with vulnerable patients.
- • Any symptomatic individuals with a history of travel within 14 days of symptom onset to geographic regions where sustained community transmission has been identified.
- • Any symptomatic individuals who may be at higher risk of poor outcomes, including those who are ≥ 65 years of age, immunosuppressed, or have high-risk chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).
- • Individuals with fever and/or symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness who are critical to pandemic response, health care personnel, public health officials, and other essential leaders.
Who should NOT test for COVID-19?
- • Asymptomatic individuals are not recommended to be tested for COVID-19, regardless of exposure history.
- • If another diagnosis can be determined (e.g., rapid strep, rapid flu), a clinical determination can be made that a COVID-19 test is not necessary.
- • CDC recommends that mildly ill patients should be encouraged to stay home and contact their physician by phone for guidance about clinical management. Virtual visits are available at Primary Care Medical Center, which can be helpful in determining if a patient’s symptoms are mild.
What should I do if a test result confirms I carry COVID-19?
- • Stay home except to get essential medical care. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 can, and should, recover at home. Do not leave, except to get essential medical care. Do not visit public areas, to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call your doctor before setting up an appointment for medical care. If you feel worse or think it is an emergency, call your doctor or the emergency room.
- • Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
- • Participate in home isolation by separating yourself from other people in your home. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and not interact with other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom whenever possible.
- • Limit contact with pets and animals. You should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people with the virus limit contact with animals until more information is known. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you’re sick with COVID-19. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you’re sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
What should I do I previously tested positive for COVID-19 and someone in my house is now sick?
- • Call ahead for any medical appointments. If the person has a medical appointment, call your doctor’s office or emergency department, and tell them this person has been exposed to a patient with COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
- • Ensure all people wear a face mask whenever possible. You should wear a face mask when you’re around people in your home, and if you have to leave your home for an essential doctor visit. If the person who is sick is not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing or none are available), then people who live in the home should stay in a different room. When caregivers enter the room of the sick person, they should wear a face mask. Eliminate all visitors who are not absolutely essential.
- • Follow these guidelines regarding contamination:
- o Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- o Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, tie the liner and dispose on a regular basis.
- o Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- • Clean your hands often.
- o Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- o Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- o Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
- o Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- • Avoid sharing personal household items.
- o Do not share: Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people in your home.
- o Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water or put them in the dishwasher.
- • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
- o Clean and disinfect: Routinely clean high-touch surfaces, including phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom. Clean high-touch surfaces in your isolation area (“sick room” and bathroom) every day; let a caregiver clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in other areas of the home. If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a face mask and wait as long as possible after the sick person has used the bathroom.
- o Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
- o Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it’s dirty. Then use a household disinfectant.
- • Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation while you use the product.
- • Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A full list of disinfectants can be found here.
- • Complete disinfection guidance.
- • Monitor your symptoms
- o Seek medical attention, but call first: Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing).
- o Call your doctor before going in: Before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do.
- o Wear a face mask: Put on a face mask before you enter the building. If you can’t put on a face mask, keep a safe distance from other people (at least 6 feet away). This will help protect the people in the office or waiting room.
- o Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department: Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
- o Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before medical help arrives.
How do I safely discontinue home isolation?
People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home-isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
- • If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- o You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that’s three full days of no fever without the use of medication that reduces fevers)
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
- At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
- • If you will have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- o You no longer have a fever (without the use of medication that reduces fevers)
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
- You received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.
In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department. The decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider as well as state and local health departments. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.
During recovery from confirmed COVID-10, what medications can I take?
For fever and pain, use Tylenol (acetaminophen) at recommended doses. Information from previous coronavirus outbreaks suggest anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Motrin should not be taken. Rest and a healthy diet are always helpful in recovering from illness. Drink extra fluids if possible.
How can I limit my risk of contracting COVID-19?
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within ab0ut 6 feet).
- • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infect3ed person coughs or sneezes.
- • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
I was tested for COVID-19. What should I do while waiting for the results?
The turnaround time for your results is expected to be 3 to 4 days. Special circumstances could delay the results. Please follow the steps below until your doctor contacts you with the results of the COVID-19 coronavirus test:
- • Stay home. You should not leave your home except for emergency medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public places. Do not use public transportation or taxis/ride shares.
- • Separate yourself from other people in your home. You should stay in a different room from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
- • Wear a face mask. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The face mask is meant to protect other people.
- • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other household items with other people in your home.
- • Wash your hands. Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available and if your hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- • Monitor your symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to lower respiratory symptoms like cough, congestion and shortness of breath. Symptomatic treatment is recommended. Tylenol and fluids, rest and a healthy diet. If you experience moderate to severe shortness of breath, contact your medical provider immediately. If you are directed to a health care facility, call the facility beforehand and let them know of your impending arrival and of your current status as a COVID-19 suspect patient.
- • What if my test is positive? Most patients who test positive for COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate respiratory symptoms and recover with supportive care. If your test is positive, you will be home quarantined for at least 14 days. This timeframe may change based on the current CDC guidelines.
To best protect yourself, clean your hands often and avoid close contact with other people.
Where has coronavirus/COVID-19 been detected?
COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in every state in the United States and in more than 200 countries worldwide. CDC continues to update the world map:
Should I wear a face mask when I am in public?
- • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover (covering both mouth and nose) whenever going out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- o Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- • Continue to keep 6 feet between yourself and others, as the cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
What is the current risk assessment?
The immediate risk of being exposed to this virus is still low for most Americans, but as the outbreak expands, that risk will increase. Cases of COVID-10 and instances of community spread are being reported in a growing number of states. At this point, there is both a risk of exposure and risk of severe illness.
Am I at risk?
The immediate risk of being exposed to this virus is still low for most Americans, but as the outbreak expands, that risk will increase. Cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread are being reported in a growing number of states.
People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with the level of risk dependent on the location. Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure. Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure. Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with level of risk dependent on where they traveled.
Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
- • People aged 65 years and older
- • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- • Other high-risk conditions could include:
- o People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- o People who have heart disease with complications
- o People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
- • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk
What is coronavirus/COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new variant of a common family of viruses called coronaviruses. These viruses typically cause respiratory tract infections ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Though most commonly found in animals like cattle, cats and bats, some coronaviruses can infect and spread between humans, such as COVID-19 and SARS.
How is it transmitted?
Just like the flu, the coronavirus is spread through coughing, sneezing and close personal contact with other people. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms related to COVID-19 coronavirus infection range from mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Most patients have fever, tiredness, dry cough and body aches. In more severe infections, symptoms may include shortness of breath and/or pneumonia. Some patients may have nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Symptoms typically appear between two and 14 days after exposure to an infected person.
How can I prepare?
There are preventative actions you can take every day:
- • Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.
- • Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if asymptomatic
- o Stay home when you are sick
- o Call your health care provider's office in advance of a visit
- o Limit movement in the community
- o Limit visitors
- • Take steps for those at higher risk
- • Protect yourself and family
- • Create a household plan:
- o Create a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
- o Consider a 2-week supply of prescripti0n and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
- o Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of events.
- • Stay informed about emergency plans.
What treatments are available?
There are currently no medications or vaccines approved for the treatment of COVID-19. A National Institute of Health (NIH) randomized and controlled clinical trial of a medication for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but is not available to the public. In the absence of a vaccine or medication, good hygiene practices remain the primary method to address wide-spread transmission and supportive care remains the only medical treatment.
How can I protect myself?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend avoiding travel to China and practicing good hygiene in the same way you would protect yourself against the flu:
- • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- • Stay home when you are sick.
- • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
How will this affect my travel?
The Department of State has advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.
Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.
CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in many states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection.
The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.
Things to consider before travel:
- • Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going? If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be more likely to get infected if you travel there than if you stay home. If you have questions about your destination, you should check your destination’s local health department website for more information.
- • Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip? Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like coronavirus may increase in crowded settings, particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation. This may include settings such as conferences, public events (like concerts and sporting events), religious gatherings, public spaces (like movie theatres and shopping malls), and public transportation (like buses, metro, trains).
- • Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19? People at higher risk for severe disease are older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). CDC recommends that travelers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.
- • Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19? If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious. You will be asked to avoid contact with others (including being in public places) during this period of infectiousness.
- • Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition? If you get sick with COVID-19 upon your return from travel, your household contacts may be at risk of infection. Household contacts who are older adults or persons of any age with severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- • Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?
Consider the risk of passing COVID-19 to others during travel, particularly if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have severe chronic health conditions These people are at higher risk of getting very sick. If your symptoms are mild or you don’t have a fever, you may not realize you are infectious.
As more information becomes available it will be posted on this website. Additional information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus.