WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19)
An Update from Williamsville Psychiatry - March 15, 2020
Your health and those of all people in the Buffalo region is our top priority. As one of your caregivers, we want to ensure that we are able to meet your needs during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We urge anyone with fever, cough and shortness of breath to call our office before you leave for your appointment with us. We have other methods in place so that our patients can be treated and medications prescribed, if necessary, without the patient physically coming to our offices. Our phone number is 716-886-5493.
If you need a refill of a previously prescribed medication, and you do not have a scheduled appointment, please do not wait until you are completely out of medication before calling our offices. In most cases, your provider will need to assess you before sending a prescription refill. Due to the anticipated high demand of these calls, we urge you to call our offices no later than 5 days prior to the date you will be out of medication. If you have a previously schedule appointment you do not need to call, we will ensure your medication is re-ordered during your visit (as medically appropriate) and sent to your pharmacy.
To minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission, we are asking any patients with a cough, shortness of breath or fever to please not come to your scheduled visit. Call our offices to reschedule your visit or to establish a telemedicine visit. Hand washing, social distancing, and self-isolation are still the best ways to prevent this virus from spreading more widely. We are committed to providing the best care to you and will continue to give you the best guidance we can.
Thank you for your patience, we will be working with you to make sure we keep you and our community healthy. The Williamsville Psychiatry staff will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.
General Information about COVID-19
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It is part of a larger family of viruses called coronavirus, some of which are in circulation normally and can cause illnesses like the common cold. This Novel Coronavirus is not the same strain coronavirus as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). You can learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html)
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW IS THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS 2019 TRANSMITTED OR SPREAD?
- Usually spreads from close person to person contact through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. May also spread through airborne transmission, when tiny droplets remain in the air even after the person with the virus leaves the area.
CAN SOMEONE SPREAD THE VIRUS WITHOUT BEING SICK?
- 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 occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
CAN IT SPREAD FROM CONTACT WITH INFECTED SURFACES OR OBJECTS?
- 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.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
People with COVID-19 usually have a fever and may include:
- Shortness of breath
*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.
HOW IS COVID-19 DIAGNOSED?
- Can only be diagnosed with a laboratory test.
IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR COVID-19?
- There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated based on your clinical condition. Supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO PROTECT MYSELF?
- If you may have been exposed to or think you may have COVID-19 you should contact your healthcare provider or health care center immediately. Review your signs, symptoms, possible virus contact information and travel history thoroughly with them.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do this especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing or after using public transportation, shopping and being out in the public.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or flexed elbow (not your hands), then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects ad surfaces using a regular household cleaning disinfectant spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
WHAT IF I OR SOMEONE IN MY FAMILY HAS COVID-19 SYMPTOMS? WHAT DO I DO? HOW DO I PROTECT OTHERS?
- If you have a fever or any kind of respiratory difficulty such as coughing or shortness of breath, call your doctor or a health care provider and explain your symptoms over the phone before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care facility or emergency room.
- Over the phone, be sure to tell them if you have traveled outside the country (particularly to countries affected by COVID-19 (currently China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea) in the last 14 days Also, be sure to tell them if you suspect you have been close (within 6 feet) of someone who has COVID-19 for an extended period. Your health care provider or the emergency room team will recommend next steps.
- Review your signs, symptoms, and travel history thoroughly with them. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
- If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have severe symptoms, or you have underlying conditions, such as a weakened immune system or chronic respiratory disease, call your family physician or ER for guidance on how to seek care without exposing others.
- Stay home when possible; separate yourself from other people and animals at home.
- Be vigilant about practicing virus prevention, including proper hand hygiene and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Wear a protective mask, when possible, during close contact with others; close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone else. For those who are sick, a mask can reduce the number of droplets coughed into the air.
- Avoid sharing personal household items. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a disinfectant household cleaning spray or wipe.
WHAT DO I DO IF I MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19?
- If you have traveled to or from one of the travel alert areas or If you have had close contact (within 6 ft.) with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 and have symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing), call your doctor, ER or the health department right away.