May 8, 2020
COVID-19 is a member of the coronavirus family of viruses and causes the respiratory infection known as coronavirus disease 2019.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold and more severe illnesses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and COVID-19. Coronaviruses commonly circulate in animals and sometimes also infect humans.
How does COVID-19 spread?
While COVID-19 is believed to have originated from animals, the virus is thought to spread mainly person-to-person:
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Current evidence suggests a typical incubation period (time from exposure of the virus to the development of symptoms) of 2 to 14 days. The virus becomes a pandemic when it occurs worldwide, or over a very wide area crossing international boundaries, and affects a large number of people.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms related to COVID-19 include:
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia and other complications, especially in infants, older individuals, and in those with underlying health conditions.
I’m sick. How do I know if it’s COVID-19?
COVID-19 symptoms and cold/flu are similar
If you are having symptoms and are not feeling well, please call 973-313-1113 to schedule an appointment with a provider. If you are having symptoms of respiratory distress or severe illness, please call 911
Please also exercise the usual precautions associated with seasonal illnesses like colds and flu.
I’ve read about deaths from COVID-19. Should I be worried?
While the situation is evolving, currently available data show that most of the deaths have been in more vulnerable groups, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Similar to the flu, these populations are at increased risk for more severe illness.
Should I be concerned about pets or other animals?
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading person-to-person. The CDC recommends that people traveling to an impacted region avoid animals both live and dead, but there is no reason to believe that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with COVID-19.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.htmlWorld Health Organization (WHO)who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
Goldson Medical Associates, LLC (GMA) is currently offering two forms of COVID-19 testing – the PCR (nasal swab) test and the Serum Antibody IgG (blood) test. Please read below FAQ for more information regarding these COVID-19 tests offered at GMA.
What do these COVID-19 tests detect?
PCR (nasal swab): This test will detect if you are actively infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Serum Antibody IgG (blood test): This test will detect if you have had prior exposure to COVID-19 and have built an antibody for the virus. For most viral illnesses, a positive antibody means prior exposure to a virus and some degree of immunity to future infection. As COVID-19 is a novel (new) infection, it is unclear if a positive antibody definitively offers immunity. The recommendation is to still practice social distancing and universal precautions.
What criteria do I need to meet to receive one of these tests?
We will determine the appropriate test via phone screen/televist
PCR (nasal swab):
Serum Antibody IgG (blood test):
How are these tests administered?
Where do I go to perform the tests:
PCR (nasal swab) for possible active infection
As part of our effort to protect our patients and staff, the nasal swab test will be performed as a curbside service outside of our building. Patients will be asked to remain in their cars with the windows up and wearing masks until they are approached by a staff member to perform the test. There have been marked parking spots (orange safety cone) in the rear parking lot. At the time of registration for the visit, the patient will identify the vehicle type/color so we know who the expected occupant is going to be. This testing will be based on a scheduled appointment.
Test is done as part of regular bloodwork either by the lab service at our office or can be done by Quest with a lab order
What platforms do you use for molecular/PCR testing?
We send out to our national commercial lab partners (Quest or Lab Corp). All platforms used have FDA Emergency Use Authorization.
What platforms do you use for serology/antibody testing?
We send blood draws (serology), to our national commercial lab partners (Quest or Lab Corp).
How long will it take to receive my results and how do I view them?
PCR (nasal swab): Generally, it will take 3-5 days to receive your results. Your results can be viewed via your patient portal account. Please note, that in addition to posting the test results in your Patient Portal, all patients who receive a positive result will be contacted via phone.
Serum Antibody IgG (blood test): Generally, it will take 3-5 days to receive your antibody results. Your results can be viewed via your patient portal account.
How much do each of these tests cost?
Per the CARES Act, GMA is not collecting copayments for COVID-19 related visits. Inquiries regarding lab bills should discussed directly with the lab partner.
If you have specific concerns, you may want to call your insurance provider ahead of your visit to confirm they will cover the cost of your GMA visit and test.
What precautions do I take based on my results of these tests?
Regardless of your results, you should continue to exercise universal precautions such as social distancing, quarantining, frequent hand washing, wearing of a mask or face cloth in public, and other CDC guideline recommendations. Remember, COVID-19 is a new infection, and it is unclear if a positive antibody definitively offers immunity.
What kind of services will you start to offer in-person?
It is important to restart care that is currently being postponed, such as preventive medicine and chronic disease care. We know many patients have ongoing health care needs that are being deferred and need to re-start clinically necessary care. The importance of this is underlined by the devastating effect of COVID-19 on those with underlying medical conditions, particularly when poorly controlled.
Is it safer to postpone an office visit until the pandemic is over?
We understand you may be hesitant to seek in-person care at this time. However, the dangers of undetected medical conditions and chronic disease may put you at even greater risk. We’ve put careful precautions and protocols in place to ensure a safe in-office visit. We hope you don’t delay making an appointment for essential care.
What is GMA doing to keep me safe at my next in-office visit?
For the safety and well-being of our patients and in-office teams, we are reinforcing best practices at our office, including the below:
Our plan is a phased re-opening. All services will reopen to scheduled visits. GMA providers will be seeing patients with reduced schedules to accommodate social and physical distancing among patients. To book an appointment, see call 973-313-1113.
Will you still be offering telemedicine?
As we gradually resume in-person care, we will continue to maximize our telemedicine platforms for care that can be accomplished virtually. When you call for an appointment, we will help to decide if an in-person or virtual visit is your best option.