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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Always refer to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for the latest, most accurate, and up-to-date information. Avoid recommendations that do not arise from vetted medical sources.

If you have additional questions or concerns, then we encourage you to utilize your most valuable resource: access to your personal HIPnation Primary Care Provider. As always, you can reach them directly through phone calls, texting, and telemedicine. They are to be your advocate, source of knowledge, and caregiver as we navigate this time together.

If you are not a HIPnation member and wish to have this level of advocacy, access and care, then we would be happy to have you join our community.

Update: 3/39/2020

EYE CONTACT LENSES: If you are a contact lens wearer, you may want to think twice before putting them in because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC says you should not touch your eyes, but contact wearers must to not only put them in and remove them regularly, but also they may habitually make adjustments throughout the day.

APPLE LAUNCHES COVID-19 APP, WEBSITE

Officials with technology giant Apple announced the release Friday of a new screening tool and resources in the form of an app and a website to help people protect themselves amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both the app and the site were developed in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The COVID-19 app and website allow users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one,” company officials said Friday in a news release.

“In turn, they will receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.”

Company officials highlighted that the tools are meant to be resources and are not meant to replace advice from healthcare providers or warnings and guidance shared by state and local officials. Information inputted into the app or the website will not be sent to Apple or any government organization.

 

Update: 3/27/2020

The Primary Care Physician in this video provides practical tips to keep you and your groceries safe. Thanks Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen!

Update: 3/24/2020

Reminders:

  1. Even if you are feeling fine, it is important to continue to practice social distancing (6 feet) and proper handwashing hygiene.
  2. Although the state has not issued a mandated shelter in place, we encourage self-isolation as the best option to flatten the curve for the sake of everyone. We know the number of reported cases will increase, but self-isolation is still the best strategy.
  3. Your HIPnation Primary Care Provider is still accessible and available. At any time should you need to contact them, please do.

For those looking for options for dinner, the restaurant industry has made today the Great American Takeout (#greatamericantakeout). They are encouraging those who are financially able to order at least one takeout meal from a favorite restaurant to support them during these challenging economic times.

Update: 3/22/2020

COVID-19 Testing Recommendations:

Current testing guidelines remain unchanged. According to federal and state officials:

  1. People who do not have symptoms do not need to be tested.
  2. Most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms do not need to be tested.

 

The guidelines will change as more testing kits become available and the capacity to run the test increases. It is important to remember that there is no specific treatment for coronavirus. Diagnosis through laboratory testing does not change management. Instead, testing helps track the extent of the spread within the community.

What do I do if I think I have coronavirus?

If you do have symptoms, contact your HIPnation Primary Care Provider and follow their advice. A couple key items to remember:

  1. The majority of people with COVID-19 can safely recover at home with self-isolation and management of symptoms. If you have possible or confirmed COVID-19:
    • Stay at home and avoid public places
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Rest
    • Manage symptoms
      • Throat lozenges
      • Hot shower for congestion
      • Tylenol for fever – check with your HIPnation PCP before taking Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  2. If you develop emergency signs for COVID-19, then get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:*
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

You can also view the CDC guidelines here.

Update: 3/20/2020

TESTING FOR COVID-19

In keeping with the HIPnation theme, please use your HIPnation Primary Care Provider as your resource and the foundation of your care.

If you are concerned that you may have come into contact with coronavirus and/or are symptomatic then please contact your HIPnation Primary Care Provider. He/she will make the determination based on testing guidelines whether to pursue testing and will also be able to provide personalized medical advice.

A couple of key items to keep in mind:

  • We are all using thoughtful screening to preserve limited supplies of swabs and Patient Protection Devices in order to allow prioritization for those at greatest risk of severe illness.
  • Testing is most important if:
    • You are over age 60, have symptoms of a fever or respiratory infection, and one of the following:
      • Have risk factors for a more-severe infection, like heart, lung, or kidney disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system
      • Work or live in a communal setting (e.g. a hospital, daycare, college dorm, or nursing home)

Update: 3/20/2020

Your HIPnation Primary Care Provider is your point of contact and the foundation of your care. You are not alone. We are here for you. Please keep in touch with us. Stay informed and remain calm. Follow the CDC updates link at the top of the page.

QUESTION: Who do we call and where do we go OTHER than an Emergency room if we get seriously sick? I know the government websites are saying if you have symptoms, just stay at home and quarantine yourself and any other family members, but I’m talking about what if we get REALLY sick?

ANSWER: Your HIPnation Primary Care Provider (PCP) is here to help you navigate these times. No HIPnation member should feel as though they are going through this alone. For any concerns, especially if you are worried you have contracted coronavirus, please contact your HIPnation PCP. They will provide advice and guidance, answer any questions, and walk with you throughout the process. Each individual case will be evaluated.

QUESTION: Does HIPnation have any affiliation with a hospital? In other words, can you get me admitted if I were to get really sick and if so where? Can a HIPnation doctor even go into a hospital to see their patient other than as a visitor?

ANSWER: Our connection is with you and follows you. Your HIPnation PCP is able to directly communicate with emergency room physicians and hospitalist services at all area hospitals to determine the best approach should you need to be admitted (this can require reporting to the emergency department initially).  If you are admitted, your HIPnation PCP will maintain open lines of communication with the hospital service as part of your care team. We are able to offer medical insight specific to your personal medical history, track your progress, and be part of the transition in care once you are discharged.

QUESTION: If I do get sick or show symptoms, does HIPnation have any access to testing or recommendations as to where to get tested other than going to the E.R.?

ANSWER: As this issue changes almost daily, please contact your HIPnation PCP first.  They will help determine if you are eligible to get COVID-19 testing and provide you with the most up-to-date options for testing.

QUESTION: Does HIPnation have access to any equipment for its members that might include any masks or other respiratory equipment?

ANSWER: As has been reported widely in the media, there are significant shortages of the most appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) across the nation.  We at HIPnation, like many, have faced challenges acquiring PPE. That said, the vast majority of people will not need PPE as long as they comply with social distancing and practice proper personal hygiene (washing/sanitizing hands frequently, keeping hands away from the face, sanitizing high touch surfaces in homes/cars). We recommend following the CDC guidelines for prevention here.

Again, if there is a specific need such as caring for a sick family member, then please contact your HIPnation PCP for advice.

 

Update: 3/18/2020

Several area store chains are providing dedicated time for those older than 60 to shop (Target, Dollar General, Aldi, Whole Foods). In all cases, these stores will open 1 hour before normal hours for people older than 60. Check directly with the stores to verify the times.

Click here to read “Coronavirus – 10 Myths Debunked.”

 

Update: 3/18/2020

A Message from the HIPnation CEO

First and foremost, I hope everyone is well. I am praying for protection and health for you, your businesses, and your families during this time. Our commitment to truly partnering with you as we navigate COVID-19 together remains steadfast.

Many physicians make up HIPnation so each office manages care and communications differently. As should always be the case, if there are any questions or concerns, please contact your HIPnation physician or their office directly.

While HIPnation is founded upon providing accessible, personalized and relationship-based care, the technology platform and approach to doing so varies within our physician community. A majority of HIPnation practices utilize the Spruce telecommunication application. If you have not done so, please download the Spruce application on your phone and/or other devices. Through this, you and your physician can communicate via secure texting and schedule telemedicine visits. Either when you first enrolled or when we first launched the product, you should have received a text with a link to download the Spruce application. If you do not have this, then please contact the office and they can resend the link.

If your physician uses a different technology platform, then I recommend you engage with your physician to ensure you can fully utilize their preferred approach to interaction.

We are here and accessible for you during this time.

Brian E Hill, MD
CEO, HIPnation

 

Update: 3/15/2020

Always refer to the CDC for the latest, most accurate, and up-to-date information. Avoid recommendations that do not arise from vetted medical sources.

What are its symptoms?

COVID-19 has three main symptoms that occur within 2-14 days of exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms vary in individuals. Click here to learn more.

How does it spread?

Droplets that are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can enter the mouth or noses of people nearby and then be inhaled into their lungs.

There are reports of virus spread when people come in contact with COVID-19 on a surface and then touch their mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.

According to the CDC, people are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest. Click here to learn more.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissue and then throw the tissue away.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (Click here to learn more about hand hygiene.) Do this before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • And, as always, follow healthy living guidelines:
    • Get enough sleep – generally seven or eight hours every night
    • Get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week
    • Avoid vices such as alcohol and tobacco
    • Eat a healthy diet

The CDC is now recommending that adults 60 and older and those who have chronic conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, and diabetes stay at home as much as possible. “When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often; avoid crowds,” the CDC recommends. Click here to learn more.

If I become sick, what should I do?

First, contact your HIPnation Primary Care. Stay home, just as you would with any respiratory illness like the flu or a cold and stay in close contact with your physician. Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Again, stay in close contact with your HIPnation Primary Care throughout. Click here to read more.

 

Update: 3/12/2020

HIPnation COVID-19 Policy

As the we navigate the complexities surrounding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), HIPnation recognizes its responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our members, our physicians and their staff, and our community at large. We are also aware of the opportunity and privilege as caregivers we have been granted to meet the medical needs of our members who place their trust in us.

The policy outlined herein is effective immediately and will continue until the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) deems it appropriate to step down from pandemic precautionary measures. HIPnation will closely follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health recommendations and guidelines.

HIPnation CEO Dr. Brian Hill will appoint a HIPnation physician(s) to develop procedures and action steps to:

  1. Provide pre-screening office visit protocols to protect our members and staff.
  2. Promote proactive measures to ensure the medical care and needs of HIPnation members are met.
  3. Develop protocols for management of potential cases identified during an office visit.
  4. Develop protocols for management of potential cases identified during member communication.
  5. Disseminate regularly updated information to our members regarding preventive measures.
  6. Closely monitor the changing recommendations from the CDC and implement any potential alterations in previously established procedures to respond to this rapidly evolving dynamic.

 

HIPnation is here to partner with our members and our local community to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to provide quality, thoughtfully parsed medical advice and healthcare during this time. We remain steadfast in our belief that together we will weather the storm of this event and be a stronger community as a result.