Coronavirus Update - March 17
In follow-up to my message from last week, I wanted to provide you another update regarding the extra precautions we are taking and asking of our patients.
We ask that you comply with the social distancing recommendations put out by both local and federal governments and the CDC. Social distancing means keeping away from people other than your immediate family members. If you must come in contact with others, including friends and extended family, maintain a 6’ distance. Social distancing means not unnecessarily going into public places. The State has introduced restrictions on restaurants and pubs, but you should also consider discontinuing visits to other public places where you would have direct contact with another individual. Social distancing is intended to help stop the spread of Covid-19. A mild illness for one person can be passed along to another and cause a life threatening one; please do your part in stopping the spread of this incredibly contagious virus.
If you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms, please see the CDC guidelines regarding what to do if you’re sick. Most people can treat their symptoms at home with rest and use of acetaminophen, ibuprofen and cough medication for treatment of fevers, body aches, cough and congestion. If you feel the need to see a doctor regarding severe symptoms or possible exposure, please call your physician’s office or use the patient portal to message us. You will be asked a series of questions and directed accordingly. If you are told to go to the emergency room, please wear a mask if possible. You may be met outside by a healthcare worker and given a mask to wear, if you don’t have one already, prior to entering the facility.
If you are experiencing life threatening conditions like severe shortness of breath, dehydration or other complications, do not hesitate to call 911.
If you have a previously scheduled appointment and feel even mildly ill, please reschedule. Based on the need for social isolation, even healthy patients may be asked reschedule a physical or non-urgent follow-up appointment or do a telephone visit with the provider. Please also be aware that due to the volume of inquiries related to Covid-19, some delays may occur in handling of routine office requests. It would be helpful if you call for refills well in advance of when you need them and if possible hold routine questions for your next scheduled appointment.
As affiliates of Partners Healthcare, we want to make you aware of a hotline they have set up for questions related to coronavirus. This hotline operates from 8am to 8pm seven days a week and will be staffed by nurses and clinical experts:
Supporting Clinicians, Patients and the Public
Phone Number: 617-724-7000
The State of Massachusetts has also set up an informational hotline which can be reached by dialing 211. You may call that number for more information about Covid-19 and instructions regarding what you can do to stop the spread and stay safe.
The vast majority of Covid-19 cases produce mild to moderate illness and do not require hospitalization. Often times, people can recover at home. The steps to protect yourself from Covid-19 are generally the same as those for the flu:
- We encourage everyone to practice excellent hand hygiene—washing frequently throughout the day with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds). When soap and water is not practical, alcohol-containing hand sanitizer (70% alcohol) is an acceptable substitute.
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Cough/sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve or elbow to reduce the spread of infection
- Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth)
- Social Isolate at home – distancing yourselves from non-immediate family members and avoiding close contact (less than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes)
The Centers for Disease Control does NOT recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from the flu, Covid-19 or other respiratory illnesses. Face masks should only be used by people who show symptoms of these diseases to help prevent spread of the disease to others.
This situation remains fluid and there is still much that we don’t know about this disease. Please pay attention to the public health authorities, and we at MRPG will also continue to update you.
Liz Siraco, MD
Milford Regional Physician Group