COVID-19

While we will make every effort to update this page with new information as it becomes available, the situation is rapidly evolving and you should refer to the resources listed below for additional information on COVID-19.

 

Also, please note the information contained here is NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE, but is purely for educational purposes. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911. For specific medical questions or concerns, please call your doctor.

Resources

COVID-19: tracking the spread

FAQs about COVID-19

  • What is COVID-19?

    • COVID-19 (short for "coronavirus 2019") is the term given to an illness caused by a novel type of coronavirus ​(SARS-CoV-2) that first emerged in December 2019 in the Wuhan province in China and spread across the world.

    • In March 2019, the World Health Organization called COVID-19 a pandemic because of the rapid spread of this infection to so many countries.

  • What are the symptoms? Symptoms of COVID-19 can come on suddenly, 2-14 days after a person is exposed to the virus. The following are common symptoms:​

    • high fever​

    • dry cough

    • loss of sense of smell and taste

    • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

    • fatigue

    • headache

    • gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

    • for more information on COVID symptoms, see the CDC website

  • How is the virus spread?

    • through respiratory droplets - when people cough, sneeze, talk, or breathe, they release respiratory droplets which contain the virus. These droplets can travel up to 6 feet and infect others, or settle on surfaces where the virus can live for days.​

    • by contact with contaminated surfaces - if someone who has COVID-19 touches or transmits respiratory droplets onto a surface such as a computer keyboard or doorknob, viral particles can live on these surfaces for days. If someone else touches that surface, then touches their face (eyes, nose, mouth), the virus is then transmitted to this new person.

  • What can I do to protect myself? 

    • WEAR A MASK when you go out in public or are around other people

    • Stay 6 or more feet away from others

    • WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN! This helps to wash off ​the virus and reduce the spread of disease. You should lather and scrub your hands for 20 seconds and then rinse off.

      • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    • CLEAN AND DISINFECT frequently touched surfaces (tables, doorknobs, light switches, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface.

    • More tips on protecting yourself (from the CDC website)

  • What if I am exposed to someone with COVID-19?

    • self-quarantine at home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. You may end quarantine earlier if:​

      • you complete 10 days of quarantine and do not develop any symptoms​

      • you complete 7 days of quarantine AND at the end of the 7 days test for COVID test AND the COVID test is negative (meaning no COVID detected) 

    • You must restrict activities and limit all movements that may put you in contact with others during the quarantine period.

    • Click HERE for more information from the LA County Department of Public Health

  • What do I do if I develop symptoms? Click HERE for the latest CDC recommendations

    • if you have trouble breathing, call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Room​

    • call your doctor for instructions - testing and treatment recommendations are being updated regularly.

    • Stay at home until you have had no fever for at least 72 hours AND at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. During this time, you should:

      • Stay at least 6 feet away from others.

      • If you must leave your house to seek medical care, wear a mask

      • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze - then immediately discard the tissue and wash your hands.

      • wash your hand well and often.

      • disinfect shared surfaces

      • take over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) for fever

      • keeping well hydrated by drinking plenty of water

      • rest

  • How long do symptoms last? 

    • some people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms at all, but may still be able to spread the virus to others.

    • Most people (we think about 80%) will develop mild cold or flu-like symptoms and will recover within a week or two.

    • Some people ​who develop more severe illness may be sick for weeks.

    • Some people may have symptoms that linger even longer (weeks or months), including: fatigue, body aches, "brain fog", chest discomfort or shortness of breath. 

    • Some people (1-2%) may die.

  • How do you test for COVID-19? click here for infografic on covid tests

    • PCR test

      • tests for RNA (genetic material) from COVID-19 virus

      • uses a nasal or oral swab to collect a sample from the patient, the sample is then sent to a commercial lab (such as LabCorp or Quest) for analysis.

      • These tests are 50-65 % sensitive (meaning they fail to detect COVID19 infection in about 35-50% of cases).

      • Result turnaround time can be 2-7 days, depending on the volume of testing being done at the lab.

      • Local health departments, hospitals and academic centers, and commercial labs all use a version of this test.

      • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, and would like to be tested, call your doctor or schedule a telehealth consult with one of our physicians. You can also be evaluated at our Urgent Care -- no appointment needed!

      • Other facilities that may offer testing include select CVS pharmacies and LA County sites where you can schedule an appointment online (see "Where can I get tested" below)

      • Rapid PCR test - There are several rapid point-of-care PCR tests for COVID-19. These are primarily used for patients who have symptoms suggestive of COVID. Ask your doctor about which testing may be most appropriate for you.

    • Antigen test 

      • tests for proteins on the surface of the COVID-19 virus

      • uses a nasal or oral swab to collect a sample from the patient, the sample is then tested using a test kit or device at the point of care (eg at your doctor's office, urgent care, or at home)

      • results typically take under 1 hour

      • these tests are generally less accurate than COVID PCR tests​​

    • Antibody test -

      • checks for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Several days after a person gets infected, IgM antibody levels start to rise; IgG antibodies develop about 1-2 weeks later. By testing for antibodies, we can determine post-factum whether someone had COVID-19. However, studies suggest that in many people, these antibody levels decline within 2-6 months after someone gets infected with COVID.

      • this is a blood test; blood draw can be done at your doctor's office or at a commercial lab

      • turnaround time for result: 2-5 days

  • Who should be tested for COVID-19?

    • People who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.​

    • People who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Please note: it can take 5-7 days after exposure for someone to test positive. Testing earlier may result in a FALSE NEGATIVE result. Whether you choose to get tested or not, you SHOULD self-quarantine for 10-14 days, as symptoms can develop up to 2 weeks after exposure. Read more about self-quarantine guidelines HERE.

    • People who do not have symptoms but need to be screened prior to a medical procedure.

    • People who do not have symptoms or history of contact with someone who has COVID can also be tested if needed for work, school, or travel. Please talk with your doctor if you have questions about asymptomatic COVID testing/screening

  • Where can I get tested for COVID-19? 

    • At doctors' offices, many urgent cares, some pharmacies, and various county testing sites - CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF TESTING SITES

    • LA County is offering free testing to residents of Los Angeles - Click here for information and online scheduling

    • at home:

      • Home collection kits for COVID PCR testing - these are available for order online through several commercial laboratories, including La​bCorp/PixelQuest, and others. These kits allow you to collect a specimen sample (such as nasal swab) at home, and send the sample via expedited mail to a commercial lab that then runs the kit. Turnaround time can be several days, depending on the volume of testing the lab is doing. Most of these kits do NOT require a doctor's order.

      • Home rapid Antigen test - this is a kit you can purchase online or at a pharmacy for home use. It provides a result within 10-15 minutes, but may not be as sensitive as the PCR tests run through commercial laboratories. Some of these kits may require a doctor's prescription, others do not. 

    • Talk with your doctor about the best way/place for you to get tested. This may depend on your symptoms, history of exposure, and specific needs. 

  • Are there any treatments for COVID-19?

    • YES. Several treatments have been given Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. If you have tested positive for COVID and your symptoms started less than 1 week ago, please CALL YOUR DOCTOR to see if you are eligible for treatment. Read more about available/approved treatments on the CDC website.

    • The mainstay of treatment for most people with mild to moderate symptoms that do not require hospitalization is supportive (see "what do I do if I develop symptoms" above)​. 

    • Multiple studies are ongoing to test various medications for efficacy against COVID-19. (See "clinical trials" for more on this topic.)

​​

  • What are our offices doing in response to COVID-19? 

    • We are offering telemedicine visits conducted by secure video-conferencing platforms. Check FAQs for more information about telemedicine.

    • We are limiting the number of people in our offices and spacing out in-office appointments in order to observe social-distancing guidelines.

    • We have a universal masking protocol. Please wear a mask when you come to our offices.

    • We are cleaning and disinfecting high usage areas and surfaces in our offices frequently throughout the day, and disinfecting exam rooms and medical equipment in between patients.

Updated 1/30/2021

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

©2018-2021 BY SANTA MONICA FAMILY PHYSICIANS

  • SMFP on Facebook