Kovacevich: To test or not to test — is that the question?
“It’s a bag of mixed messages and confusion,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — to test or not to test for COVID-19. As health care providers make this important decision, it could be 7-14 days for results, making testing a potentially unreliable tool for diagnosis and treatment. Providers may also have limited testing capacity due to a short supply of test kits.
Rather, Providers are proactively counseling and treating patients as “presumed positive” for COVID-19 when similar symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath are present. This may even include diarrhea, loss of appetite, loss of taste or smell. Given this presumptive positive reality, the new “social norm” of home isolation works well as both a virus containment strategy and a home care treatment plan.
Even if simplistic stay-home policies reduce virus spread with minimized exposure for high-risk patients. It’s also a universal solution that everyone can do.
We can also be proactive in forming a COVID-19 care plan that starts with guidance from the American Medical Association to be primary care prepared. We can all check-in with a primary care provider well before becoming ill.
Be prepared, know who to call should you become sick. Call ahead to plan and ask questions about office hours, locations, telehealth options for care from home and after-hours provider access. If needed, ask if Spanish speaking staff is available as well. If you don’t have a primary care provider, find one and become a new patient.
We urge everyone to make this contact now and become more informed. Your health care workers and community resources are available 24-7 to answer your questions or concerns and provide direction of needed care. It’s best to establish your care plan now, no matter where you live, and determine where to go and when, if needed.
Ask your provider office if they have telehealth and if they can also do well patient visits for physicals or chronic disease follow-ups for diabetes, hypertension, etc. and how you may still access the care you need every day safely, to keep you healthy while at home.
It’s essential we all practice social care responsibility — social distancing, hand health and avoid touching your face — including maintaining our own health and knowing your primary care COVID-19 access. For example, at Doctors On Call, we have 24-7 access to answer health care questions, maintained office hours and are working diligently with our community partners at Vail Health and Eagle County Public Health to combat COVID-19 and keep our community healthy and on the road to recovery. Be safe and wash your hands.
Jill Kovacevich, JD, is a medical administrator with Doctors On Call, which is based in Avon.