COVID-19 Update

There is a lot that we do not know about the new Coronavirus but we want to share what we do know about the illness.

The incubation period is 2-9 days with 5 days being the median time to onset of symptoms after exposure. When symptoms begin, the first week usually consists of muscle aches, fatigue, cough and a low fever.  For patients who develop pneumonia and breathing difficulties, those symptoms usually occur at about 8-9 days.  This presentation is a little different than influenza which typically has a more rapid onset. Older patients and those with underlying chronic conditions tend to be at higher risk for complications.

If You Are Sick

In an effort to protect our well patients and ensure that we are able to continue to provide them with care, we are going to limit the “sick” patients that are seen in our office.

In most cases, one of our providers can manage you over the phone and we can follow your progress without having to physically see you in the office.

Whether or not you think you might have COVID-19, please, DO NOT show up for an appointment without first notifying us via a Patient Portal message or phone call.

Please be courteous and let us know if you want to cancel or reschedule an appointment. Our no-show policy requires a 24-hour notice so please work with us as we utilize our schedule to ensure that all of our patients receive the care they need.

COVID-19 Testing

Due to our limited testing capacity, we are testing the following patients at this time:

  1. Patients with a known exposure, risk factors such as age > 60, or an underlying chronic chronic medical condition.
  2. Patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.

We are collecting specimens outside of our building to limit potential exposure. You must be evaluated via phone by one of our providers before we can order your test.

At this time, we recommend that you stay away from Emergency Room settings unless you are experiencing an inability to catch your breath.

If you have mild symptoms, you need to self-isolate at home and treat just like you would any other viral illness – rest, plenty of fluids, Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen for fever and body aches. At this time, we have limited testing capacity so we cannot test everyone who just wants to know if they have COVID-19. Hopefully these restrictions can be eased soon.

It is beneficial to know as early as possible if these patients have COVID-19 as it could affect how closely we monitor and how we treat these patients.

Just like with any other illness, if you are experiencing an inability to catch your breath, it is important that you be seen and evaluated in an Emergency Room. All others should avoid those settings to minimize exposure and transmission.

We will not test anyone without first speaking with and evaluating them by phone to determine if testing is warranted.

If you show up before one of our providers orders the test, you will be turned away. Since we are still in the flu season, we may test for both COVID-19 and flu since they can be similar.

Medication Refills

We expect our phones to be very busy in the coming days and we will do our best to manage our most sick patients first.

If you must miss a scheduled appointment and need medication refills, the AL Board of Pharmacy has given pharmacists permission to issue a 30-day supply of essential medications that are not Schedule 2. You must go to the pharmacy that filled the medication and they need to notify us within 72 hours. Please ask the pharmacist to notify us in writing and NOT via a phone call.

What You Can Do

Our recommendation is that patients manage this outbreak similar to influenza. If you are concerned that you may have the virus and are experiencing mild symptoms, like most patients do, you need not seek medical treatment.

Just like with influenza, rest, plenty of fluids and medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen for fever and body aches is all that is usually needed. And, like influenza, it is best to not “share” the virus with others, especially those who may be older or who have other health problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health are the best sources for up-to-date information on the outbreak.

1041 Balch Road
Suite 300
Madison, AL 35758

Not just better healthcare,
but a better healthcare experience.

Integrity Family Care, Medical Doctor, Madison, AL