As COVID-19 continues to spread across our community and our nation, we understand that many of you have questions on what to do, if you think you are infected. Before you reach out to your health care provider, we urge you to review the following information:
We are now seeing “community spread” of COVID-19 in our area. This means that people are getting the infection, and might be unsure of where or how they became exposed. The most common symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19 are fever and respiratory complaints (like cough, shortness of breath). We are also learning that diarrhea can be seen in many as well. These symptoms can sometimes overlap with the “common cold”, influenza, and “stomach viruses”.
Testing is still very limited at this time, and largely restricted to high-risk patients and hospitalized patients. At this time, we do not offer testing at Westmed. If you would like further information on testing, please call your local health department. Please remember that in the vast majority of cases, testing will NOT change how you manage or treat the symptoms.
If You Believe You Have Been Infected:
Note: If you are young, healthy and sick but otherwise stable at home, please limit your calls to your doctor’s office so we can manage the high volume of calls incoming from high risk patients. Try sending your provider a message through the My Westmed Portal, as an alternative! If you feel any of the following, please call your doctor immediately: shortness of breath while talking or walking across a room, or inability to hold your breath for 5-10 seconds.
If you believe you might be infected based on the symptoms described above, we recommend you take the following precautions.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever. Even if your appetite is not great, you must drink enough to remain hydrated. If your urine appears very concentrated, or you stop having to urinate, it is an indication you’re not drinking enough.
- Rest. Get plenty of sleep and try not to “push through” your symptoms.Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for relief of fever. Take the recommended amounts based on the manufacturer’s label.
- Notify those you have had either direct or indirect contact with that you might have COVID. There is no reason for alarm, but they should limit their contact with others for 14 days after they last had contact with you.
- Quarantine within your home, especially if you live with higher-risk individuals. Info for self-quarantine here.
- Higher-risk individuals include those over the age of 70, people with chronic medical conditions (like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, asthma), pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals (e.g. receiving chemotherapy, some forms of treatment for autoimmune disease, like lupus). If you fall into one of these groups and think you are infected, please call your physician.
- Remember that there is no cause for alarm. The majority of patients have mild or moderate symptoms (like a common cold or flu), and recover fully.
- Although spread can happen from people who don’t have symptoms, this appears to be less of a problem that spread from people who do have symptoms.
- Consistent and good hand hygiene is the most effective way to limit spread, regardless of whether the person you’re with is sick or not.
- Please limit your social contacts as much as possible. As many of you have seen in the news, Governor Cuomo has issued a decree with the following restrictions: Those older than age 70, and those who have compromised immune systems or underlying illnesses, should stay indoors as much as possible to limit their exposure to the coronavirus.
- These individuals should also wear a mask when in the company of others.
- Those under 70 and healthy may leave the house for short periods to exercise, take a walk and participate in non-contact physical activities as long as they stand 6 feet apart.