Patient Questions & Answers From Recent “Be Well Virginia” Town Halls

Be Well Virginia, Northern Virginia Family Practice’s town hall series has received amazing questions from our patients over the last few weeks.  Here are a few that you have submitted over the last month regarding the Coronavirus.

  1. How long should you isolate yourself after being diagnosed with COVID, with or without testing confirmation?

The CDC states for persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and are treated at home to stop isolation when the person has been without fever (and off of fever-reducing medications) for 72 hours, improvement of respiratory symptoms, and 7 days have passed since the onset of the first symptom.

  1. Are the elderly and those with chronic conditions catching the virus more readily than other healthier groups? Or is it just that they can’t fight off the effect of the virus as well?

Weakened immune systems and underlying inflammation are two factors that contribute to the elderly and individuals with chronic health conditions being at higher risk for getting the novel coronavirus and having more severe complications.  According to the CDC 8 out of 10 deaths in the US are in people over 65 years old.

  1. What determines if somebody needs to be hospitalized from COVID? Does age matter?  If so, how does it?

Most people will have a mild case that does not require hospitalization but instead careful monitoring at home.  Studies have shown that between days 5-10 of the illness is when most patients report worsening of symptoms.  If you are having shortness of breath you should call our office to discuss the next steps.  Shortness of breath is defined by difficulty walking across a room, walking up a flight of stairs, or speaking in full sentences without catching your breathe.   Other worrisome symptoms could be weakness, dizziness, worsening lethargy.  Hospitalizations are based on the severity of symptoms and not age.

  1. Can I give blood/plasma if I think I’ve had COVID?  What if I know if I’ve had COVID?

If you are currently well and meet the Red Cross eligibility for blood donation you can still donate.  Donating blood saves lives.  Refer to www.redcrossblood.org for more information.

If you have had a confirmed positive test for COVID and have fully recovered, you may be eligible to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients.  See the Red Cross website listed above or email covid19plasma@inova.org for more information

  1. Where and how can I get tested for COVID? Do I have to have symptoms?

In order to be tested for COVID-19 you must have symptoms and have an order from your healthcare provider.  INOVA Respiratory Illness Clinics provide vehicle-side appointments.  Their locations are in Old Town, Tysons, Dulles, and North Arlington.  In addition, VHC has a similar site in Arlington.  Please contact our office for a telemedicine appointment if you think you have symptoms and want to discuss testing.

As science changes and we have more information, we want to keep you informed.  Please tune in to our virtual town hall sessions or check the website for updates on this question and answer series.    You can submit questions to nvafamilypractice@gmail.com.

By  Jessica Ware, PA-C, concierge family medicine PA for 18 years focusing on high quality personalized preventive care.

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