The outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including the United States.
On March 11, COVID-19 was publicly characterized as a pandemic, and on March 13, the President of the United States declared the outbreak a national emergency.
Different parts of the U.S. are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity. The U.S. nationally is currently in the initiation phases, but more and more states are reporting cases of COVID-19 to the CDC. Three U.S. states are currently experiencing sustained community spread.
Global efforts at this time are focused concurrently on lessening the spread and impact of this virus.
You may find out more here.
How to Protect Yourself
Here are a few ways to ensure that you stay protected:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Stay at least 3 feet away from people who are sick
- Use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Alternatively, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used.
Find out more ways to stay protected here.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information, the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
Older people, and those with underlying medical problem are more likely to develop serious illness. You may find out more here.
If you are a traveler, here is what you can do to protect yourself and others:
- Ongoing community transmission of respiratory illness caused by the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring globally.
- Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
- Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Travelers returning from travel should monitor their health and practice social distancing for 14 days after returning from travel.
- Travelers who are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should stay home and call ahead before seeking medical care.
You may find out more here.
Resources for Businesses and Employers
Updates from CareATC
Frequently Asked Questions
How is CareATC responding to the coronavirus?
CareATC has implemented operational strategies designed to limit exposure to staff and other patients. Our strategies include offering remote telehealth appointments with a CareATC provider, pop-up testing locations, remote screening of patients potentially exposed to COVID-19, and a rigid cleaning schedule of our clinics. As an organization, we have limited travel and implemented a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine policy for any employees who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.
I think I may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Does CareATC provide testing?
CareATC has started to offer pop-up testing locations with employer partners and will be adding clinic testing in the near future. We are also working with local health departments, hospitals, and private organizations to coordinate testing based on current testing criteria. In order to determine if testing is indicated, we are providing virtual appointments to our patients through CareATC's telehealth offering. Stay tuned for updates to our service offerings and testing locations at www.careatc.com and our COVID-19 Resource Center.
How do I schedule a telehealth or virtual visit?
At this point, we are reserving telehealth visits for patients with acute illnesses so that we may manage and follow their care in the convenience of their home. To schedule a telehealth visit, contact our Patient Access Center at (800)993-8244. Please note that our patient access center is open 7 days a week from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm CT.
How should I prepare for a telehealth visit and what should I expect?
Once scheduled, please make sure to complete your new patient paperwork (if applicable) prior to your telehealth visit. You can do this by visiting our CareATC patient paperwork section or through our patient portal on the CareATC mobile app. Please make sure that you are available at your designated visit time as our clinic staff will initiative the telehealth encounter (via phone or video) and connect you with a CareATC physician who will take you through a general examination and ask questions to identify your specific needs and care plan.
What if I need a prescription or refill?
Even through a telehealth visit, our CareATC physicians will be able to assist with needed prescriptions and refills. We are working with our new pharmacy vendor, Northwind, to offer home shipment of medications as an added convenience and to limit your exposure to others.
What's the best way protect against the coronavirus?
At this point, the coronavirus is spread via close contact to a person infected with the disease. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to frequently clean your hands and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Practice social distancing by avoid close contact (less than 6 feet for 3 or more minutes) with others and avoid large groups that may spread the disease.
Will a face mask protect me against coronavirus?
Recent information suggest that face masks may protect individuals from community transmission of COVID-19. Although not definitive, it's important to recognize when proper utilization of face masks is warranted. The World Health Organization, WHO, has an excellent resource on when and how to use masks here. Additionally, the World Health Organization has a great “Myth busters” resource on COVID-19 that can be found here.
I have traveled to/from a high-risk region or have been in close contact with someone who is positive for the coronavirus but I don’t have any symptoms, what should I do?
The CDC and WHO recommend a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone who has traveled to/from a high-risk area or has been in close contact with someone positive for COVID-19, even though they may be asymptomatic at this time. You should also limit close contact with others to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you have been exposed to the coronavirus, contact our Patient Access Center to schedule a telehealth visit for a CareATC provider to follow your care. In addition, contact your local health department and follow your company’s policies with respect to reporting.
I have underlying health issues and upcoming travel, should I cancel my trip?
The CDC has recommended that older adults or those who may have certain medical conditions should consider postponing travel. Based on statistics, those at most risk of serious illness or even death are over the age of 60 and/or who have underlying health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease.