On this Thursday, we have started getting calls regarding the COVID-19 virus. Patients are requesting to be tested. Some patients fear they have been exposed and want to get tested. Granted, we are all nervous and want to understand and plan for the future. What is going to happen?
The Alachua County Health department has been telling patients to go to the primary care provider to get tested. We cannot test for COVID. While we know how to collect the two specimens, we do not have verification from Quest or Labcorp that they can perform the tests. You cannot go directly to Quest of Labcorp and get tested, either. They need to protect all the other patients that are doing regular blood work.
So, until there is a mobile testing facility that is independent, detached, isolated and specific for COVID-19 testing, the recommendations are as follows: If you have concerns you have been exposed to the coronavirus, isolate yourself at home. Symptoms will develop within 5-11 days. If you develop a fever, cough and shortness of breath, you need to call the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT and report that you are concerned you have the coronavirus. The ER needs to prepare for your arrival. Do not just walk into that facility. They will give you instructions on how to present for testing.
Do not come to this office. You risk exposing all the other patients and staff. Do not go to the Quest inside Walmart or CVS, you similarly expose all the other customers in those stores. And this will spread the infection.
We must all consider how to contain the spread of this virus in our community. The goal is to keep people healthy and limit their risks. We have a practice where more than 30% of our patients are over 65 years of age.