Considering the recent pandemic noted with the Coronavirus, we are doing our best to keep the spread of the virus to a minimum while also continuing to provide the best care to our patients. With that in mind, all patients will be screened prior to their appointments. We will be contacting you prior to your appointment to ask several screening questions, and we will check your temperature on arrival to the office.
Updates on the virus are changing daily and we will do our best to keep you all as well informed as we can. Remember that the best prevention is still doing simple things like social distancing and proper hand washing!
These screening questions are taken from the CDC and WHO recommendations and will be the following:
- Have you traveled to Iran, Italy, China, South Korea, Japan, or on a cruise in the last 14 days?
- Have you been directly exposed to someone with confirmed Coronavirus or a person under investigation?
- Are you part of an organizational quarantine (school, place of worship, transportation)?
If you answer “yes” to any of these screening questions, we ask that you not come into the office. The CDC recommends a two-week self-quarantine for any person with these risk factors. Please call our office and we would be happy to answer any questions and reschedule your appointment for after that two-week window. More importantly, if you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, chest pain or trouble breathing, please go to the closest emergency room or urgent care center to be evaluated.
We ask that if you test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), and you have seen us for an appointment in the last two weeks, please let us know so that we can properly alert the staff and patients who may have been exposed.
We obviously are doing our best to limit everyone’s exposure to the virus and keep both patients and staff safe, but if you have any questions or in need of care even if you are self-quarantined, our nurse triage and medical staff are still available by phone (703-435-2555) and we’re also using telemedicine solution (DOXY.ME) for office visits. We will be updating our screening questions and website as more information becomes available.
We truly appreciate your help and patience in this difficult situation.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections. In the past, we have seen other coronaviruses like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
COVID-19 is the most recently discovered member of the coronavirus family.
Coronavirus is in the United States. What does this mean for me?
On February 25, 2020 the CDC confirmed its first case of coronavirus in a US resident with no travel history to a high-risk country. Nor did the individual encounter a known carrier.
While the CDC attempts to trace all cases of coronavirus, currently the risk of contracting coronavirus for the average American remains LOW.
The CDC is watching the situation closely as it evolves.
At VWHA we will continue to work with our partners in healthcare as we monitor coronavirus and any change in its status.
How is coronavirus spread?
Coronavirus is a new disease that scientists are still researching. The World Health Organization believes that the virus is spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected 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.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
- Dry cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Aches and pains
- Runny nose, sore throat
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
Because symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu, it’s important to consider other factors that might put you at greater risk of having coronavirus:
- Recent travel to countries where coronavirus has a large presence (e.g. China, South Korea, Italy, Japan or Iran).
- Recent contact with anyone that has traveled to one of these countries in the last few weeks.
- Living or working in a community (in the United States) where local or state health officials have confirmed cases of coronavirus.
What should I do if I suspect I have coronavirus?
If you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose) it’s important to remember that you probably do NOT have coronavirus.
In consideration of our patients, we ask that if you have flu-like symptoms such as cough or fever, please consider rescheduling your appointment for another time and being evaluated at either your primary care provider or in an urgent care setting to ensure that you are being cared for appropriately.
If you have traveled outside of the continental United States, particularly in Asia, we ask that you consider scheduling your appointment no sooner than two weeks after your return to ensure no symptomatology develops in that time frame.
However, we ask that any patient with flu-like symptoms and a recent travel history to parts of the world including China, Iran, South Korea or Italy (or if you have been in contact with someone that has recently traveled to these countries) call ahead before coming into the office. This will allow staff to properly assess you in a safe and appropriate setting when you arrive.
Additionally, take sensible precautions by staying home from work or school until you’ve spoken to a medical professional who can provide further guidance.
Thank you for helping us take precautions and advocate for all our patients! If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call our office to speak with one of our providers.
How is coronavirus diagnosed?
At this time, testing for coronavirus is conducted through the CDC. If a doctor or healthcare provider suspects that you have coronavirus, they will be in direct contact with the appropriate authorities to determine if testing is needed.
How is coronavirus treated?
Most people (about 80%) recover from coronavirus without the need for special treatment or hospitalization.
In a very small number of cases, patients with severe symptoms and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. These patients may require hospitalization and will receive supportive care to help relieve the worst of their symptoms.
Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against coronavirus (COVID-19).
What are some steps I can take to protect myself and my family from coronavirus?
The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from coronavirus is by following good hygiene steps as listed below:
- Wash your hands frequently and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- When washing your hands with soap and water, do so for at least 20 seconds. Wash hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (e.g. coughing into your elbow or into a tissue).
- Stay at home when you’re sick.
- Avoid touching your face particularly after touching other surfaces.
- Maintain at least 1-meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Keep a small bottle of alcohol-based sanitizer that you can use if you’re not able to wash your hands readily with soap and water.
- Get your flu shot. The flu shot does not provide protection against coronavirus but having an active flu infection weakens the immune system. This can make you more susceptible to coronavirus.
Do I need to wear a mask?
The simple answer is No.
The CDC and leading public health authorities are not currently recommending masks for the prevention of this virus. The best protection against coronavirus is to follow proper hygiene as mentioned above.
Coronavirus and pregnancy. Is there an increased risk?
Pregnant women experience natural physiological changes to their bodies while pregnant. Some of these changes make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including coronavirus. As such, pregnant patients have been identified as a high-risk population when exposed to the Flu or Coronavirus. The CDC suggests that pregnant women should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection like washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick.
If you are pregnant and suspect that you have coronavirus or may have come into contact with someone that does, call your local healthcare provider immediately.
Where can I get more reliable information about coronavirus?
For detailed, accurate and real-time information on the status of the virus and its risk to residents, please visit the following websites:
- World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
- CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Your own state and local health authorities may provide more detailed information on their website that is specific to your area.