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What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus or COVID-19 is the newest virus in a family of “coronaviruses”where are known for causing respiratory infection. This strain is thenewest type of coronavirus with the ability to infect people. Historically,most of these viruses only infect animals like cows, camels, and bats. Asfar as scientists know, COVID-19 is the seventh type of coronavirus thathas evolved to infect humans. Two others are severe acute respiratorysyndrome (SARS-CoV) and xMiddle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV).
When the new coronavirus first started infecting people, researcherstemporarily named it 2019-nCoV, which stands for “2019 novel coronavirus.”To avoid unofficial names that could be stigmatizing or inaccurate, the WHOannounced on February 2, 2020, that the virus would now be called COVID-19,which stands for “Coronavirus Disease 19.”
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Symptoms of coronavirus can show up anywhere between 2 and 14 days afterexposure. According to the CDC , coronavirus symptoms include: fever, cough, shortness of breath.
More severe cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been linked to pneumonia,breathing difficulties, kidney failure, or even death. On the other hand,some people that are infected may not experience any symptoms at all. Olderpeople and those with pre-existing medical conditions (like heart diseaseor diabetes) may have a higher risk of developing severe complications from coronavirus (COVID-19).
How can I protect myself from getting coronavirus?
There are several small but very important steps you can take to minimizeyour chances of contracting coronavirus.
Wash your hands: You can never wash your hands enough. Use soap andwater and wash for at least 20 seconds, especially after using thebathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, orsneezing.
Stock up on disinfectant: Bacteria can be tricky and can survive onsurfaces for quite some time. Make sure you're eliminating anylingering virus by wiping down and spraying any surfaces regularly,especially frequently-touched objects, such as your cell phone andcomputer keyboard.
Avoid touching your face: Your eyes, nose and mouth are the easiestway for bacteria to get into your system. Keep your hands by yourside to avoid accidentally ingesting any harmful bacteria.
Keep your distance: Keep at least three six between you and anyonewho might be coughing or sneezing. This can help prevent anybacteria from making its way over to you.
What should I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus?
If you believe you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus (cough, fever,shortness of breath) you want to make sure you stay at home and isolateyourself from others except in the instance that you need to seek medicalcare.
If you decide you need to see a doctor make sure to call ahead of your visit and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This precaution can help theoffice protect themselves and other patients from potential transmission.Another alternative to in-person care that allows you to practice socialdistancing is to have a virtual visit with your provider. While providerscan’t test you for coronavirus virtually they can evaluate whether or notyou need to be tested and then direct you to the appropriate next stepsbased on their evaluation while minimizing transmission of coronavirus.
Where and how can I get evaluated for coronavirus testing?
Availability of tests for coronavirus can vary on a state by state basis.To learn how your state department of public health is responding tocoronavirus (COVID-19), please refer to your local or state health departmentwebsite for more details on testing in your area.
Currently testing for coronavirus is available by prescription only, sowhen in doubt call your doctor or schedule a virtual visit to speak with aprovider and determine if you need to be evaluated for coronavirus.
What should I do if I test positive for coronavirus?
If you have tested positive for coronavirus it’s important to stay at homewith the exception of seeking any needed medical care and isolatingyourself from others while at home. This means minimizing any contactbetween you and others in your home–including pets. Ideally you are able toisolate yourself in a room and avoid any shared spaces, but if this is notpossible then it’s important to routinely disinfectant any shared surfacessuch as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones,keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables per the CDC’s guidelines, will bestposition you to reduce any transmission. And of course, washing your handsfrequently is the gold standard when trying to prevent infecting thosearound you.
Can I get evaluated for coronavirus testing at urgent care?
Testing availability at urgent care clinics is currently limited but manyurgent cares are planning to increase their testing over the coming weeksand months. If you are considering going to urgent care and areexperiencing COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19, pleasecall ahead of your visit or schedule a virtual visit and been seen from thesafety of your own home.
Are there any alternatives to in-person care?
If you’re concerned about going in-person to see your provider due topossible transmission risks, the CDC has made recommendations for providersto consider telemedicine options as one potential alternative to in-personvisits.
Unfortunately the test for coronavirus (COVID-19) cannot be administeredvirtually since it does typically involve a swab or blood sample. However,telemedicine can be a great first step if you are showing symptoms ofcoronavirus (COVID-19) as it enables you to be evaluated by a providerwhile also helping to lower your risk of transmission to others.
Is there a cure or vaccine for coronavirus?
As of right now, there is no specific medicine or vaccine for the virus.Until a treatment passes clinical trials, support for people with confirmedcases of COVID-19 will focus on managing their symptoms.
In the meantime, researchers are working on developing a vaccine. There are at least 30 companies and academic institutions are trying todevelop a vaccine. On March 3, Anthony Fauci, the Director of the NationalInstitute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases commented in Washington, DCthat, “It will take at least a year and a half to have a vaccine we canuse.” It may not be ready for another 18 months, but the Director-Generalof the WHO is confident that they have the tools to contain the virus in the meantime. On March 16, 2020 the first clinical trial in the US for a vaccine began with 45 healthy adults volunteering to be inoculated.
How much does coronavirus testing cost?
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed a Coronavirus Relief Package into legislation that makes testing for coronavirus free for all Americans.
Will my insurance cover coronavirus treatment?
While the Coronavirus Relief Package passed on March 18, 2020 has waivedthe cost of testing for coronavirus, this does not cover the cost ofassociated treatment for individuals who test positive for coronavirus.Your health insurance should cover all related medical expenses like theywould if you had the flu. However, every insurance policy is different, andsome may not cover treatments or illnesses that happen outside of the U.S.
America’s Health Insurance Plans has outlined how various health insuranceproviders across the US are working to help prevent the spread of thecoronavirus by lowering the barriers to access testing from everything towaiving copays for diagnostic testing to completely covering any out ofpocket costs for coronavirus testing. To view what your specific healthinsurance provider is doing check out the full list here.
What is social distancing?
Keeping your (literal) distance from others in your community is one of themost effective ways to reduce overall transmission of coronavirus acrossthe population. Whether that be the person next to you at the gym, yourco-worker or even the person you walked past on the sidewalk en route tothe grocery, maintaining a separation of at least six feet from anyonearound you is your first step in preventing further transmission.
When do I need to practice isolation?
Isolation happens when an individual receives a positive diagnosis ofcoronavirus (COVID-19). This could mean isolation at home or in thehospital depending on the severity of the case. In cases of isolation, anyindividuals interacting with the patient will also need to take additional precautions to avoid contracting coronavirus.
If I feel healthy do I still need to practice social distancing?
Social distancing is the best tool at our disposal to protect the broaderpublic health. While your individual risk might be low, it’s important tothink about how those small actions of social distancing can benefit thepopulation. For example, 80% of the people who contract coronavirus have mild symptoms, however if one of those individuals passes it on to a more at-riskindividual it has the potential to lead to a much worse infection. And thatone infection can lead to a trickle down effect–if some of those infectedindividuals end up in the hospital it means it’s harder for other sickpopulations (newborns, cancer patients, etc.) to get adequate care.
Moral of the story–practicing social distancing is for the greater good,even if it doesn’t impact you directly.
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Urgent Care Guide
In a recent survey conducted with the Urgent Care Association, Solv found that patients were waiting an average of 24 days for appointments with their primary care provider. In a world of instant gratification, consumers demand more. They demand now. If you want to watch a movie, you download it in minutes or stream it instantly. If you need groceries, you can pick up your phone and have them delivered to you within the hour. If you need restaurant reservations, you find one with availability, book online, walk in minutes later and sit right down. Healthcare shouldn’t be any different.
That’s why urgent care has been growing at a faster pace than any other healthcare service in the United States. And it is why healthcare consumers search for “urgent care” more than 5x more than “primary care” or “family doctor,” combined. These consumers are highly actionable, searching with high intent terms like “urgent care near me.” They want same day access to quality healthcare providers when they are sick or injured - after hours, one weekends and on holidays - without the cost and inconvenience of the emergency room.
Urgent care centers typically treat minor illnesses like the flu, sinus infections and strep throat, as well as injuries like bone fractures and sprains, cuts, scrapes and burns, making these clinics ideal for diagnosing and treating non-emergent healthcare needs. And at a growing rate urgent care clinics are offering preventative care services including annual physicals and well visits, flu shots and other immunizations and vaccines, taking on the role of primary care provider for the tens of millions of consumers that don’t have one.
For kids there are special pediatric urgent care centers, usually open after hours for patients between the ages of 1 and 18.
Services & Pricing
Urgent care centers, which are part of the walk-in clinic healthcare category, are a convenient resource for consumers needing treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. Services that you would normally receive at your primary care office are usually available at an urgent care including annual and school physicals, flu shots and immunizations, treatment for illnesses including colds, flu stomach pains, sinus and ear infections and more. You can also be seen for injuries such as burns, bites, sprains and breaks - things that you might first thing to go to the emergency room vs urgent care, but you’ll have a shorter wait and smaller bill at the urgent care. As for cost, without insurance, you should expect between $100-140 for your visit, plus the cost of any labs, tests or images. With insurance, urgent care will be similar to seeing a specialist with applicable co-pay.
Insurance & Payments
Nearly all urgent care centers take commercial insurance and many (if not most) will take medicare. As such if you have insurance coverage, you can expect the financial experience to be similar to visiting a specialist where you have a co-pay, usually $35-50, due at the time of the visit. Any additional lab work, x-rays or other tests performed will be billed against your insurance first and any supplemental balance due will be invoiced to you after the fact. Without insurance, you’ll pay a visit fee between $100-140 at the time of your visit. This is typically 25-50% more than your primary care provider, but usually the convenience is well worth the additional cost. If you are interested in a telehealth or video visit, your cost could be as much as 50% less than an urgent care, you could be diagnosed and prescribed medication and you’ll never have to leave your home.
Hours & Wait Times
Every urgent care center - even those part of the same group or brand - may have different hours. While they are meant to be conveniently accessible during times when your primary care provider is not, that’s subjective and highly variable. A traditional formula, however, is that an urgent care is open 6 to 7 days a week usually between the hours of 8 am to 8 pm. That could shift to nearly any 8-12 hour period between 7 am and 10 pm. You’ll even find some clinics open 24 hours a day, similar to an emergency room. As for wait time, most patients report waiting between 15-45 minutes on average, but that can certainly vary, as well. It’s usually best to find an urgent care near you to either confirm the hours online, or call the clinic directly to verify. Or, you can book a same day doctor appointment online with Solv.