March 16, 2020
Due to emerging COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, our office will be closed for all “non-emergent, non-essential” activities, such as routine office visits, vaccinations, blood draws, etc. The obvious reason for this is to avoid any risk of spreading the virus to any of our patients who are at high-risk of developing serious, potentially life-threatening complications from COVID-19 infection. THIS IS A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME SERIOUS GLOBAL PANDEMIC THAT YOU AND WE CAN AVOID CONTRACTING BY TAKING SUCH ACTIONS.
Who are at high-risk of developing serious respiratory complications if exposed to COVID-19? If you are age 60 or older or have any chronic conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, chronic lung (e.g. COPD, asthma, interstitial fibrosis)/heart (e.g. coronary artery disease, past heart attack, arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy)/kidney (chronic kidney disease, dialysis)/liver disease (cirrhosis, untreated hepatitis B and/or C), any diabetes, and/or, yes, even high blood pressure, you should have already begun avoiding as much contact with the outside world effective immediately! Even if do not have any of these conditions, remember, if you get exposed to COVID-19, you are now at risk of infecting others with these chronic conditions and/or older ages.
That being said, our phones will be open from 10am-2pm Monday-Friday for urgent matters. We want to be available to you to help differentiate influenza (flu) from Coronavirus, but, unfortunately, despite having plenty of gloves and surgical masks in-office, we cannot screen you for either infection at this time due to the nationwide shortages of Face Shields and Gowns.
What do I do if I feel I have symptoms of COVID-19? If you develop a documented fever of 101⁰F or greater AND respiratory symptoms, such as cough, runny nose and/or shortness of breath, we are advising you to immediately begin taking your Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), 1 capsule twice daily for 5 days and REMAIN ON HOME ISOLATION UNTIL BETTER! Do not panic and think the obvious: it is the peak of the flu season, and flu shots are not always effective (I just recovered from Acute Influenza A last week despite being vaccinated).
If you do not start improving in 3-4 days OR if you are feeling worse during that time, please call the Yale New Haven Hospital hotline at 203-688-1700 or 800-275-9644. You can also reach us 24/7 by calling the office and listening to the prompts in our message. We are able to perform HIPAA-compliant, all-insurance accepted Telemedicine video conferencing if you have a smartphone (if you do not have a smartphone, we can still return your call and advise you what to do).
There are drive-through testing areas for COVID-19 in Connecticut, but right now, you cannot be tested without a written prescription from us, which can be emailed confidentially to you following a Telmed conference. Greenwich Hospital is already doing drive-through swab testing; Stamford Hospital begins next Monday, and Bristol Hospital shortly thereafter. We will keep you posted, and, very shortly, you may be able to get tested without a prescription.
Please continue to check our websites and Facebook pages for updates.
And, in the meantime, get educated about COVID-19 by clicking on this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
And, PLEASE, everyone remain calm but stay vigilant and get educated. Pharmacies, such as Cornerstone Pharmacy in Stamford, our non-profit 340B pharmacy, are ESSENTIAL and will remain open to ship your monthly medications, as will supermarkets and grocery stores, although possibly restricting the amount of people allowed to shop at any given time.
We made it through the HIV/AIDS global epidemic together, and we will all get through this pandemic together, hopefully unscathed if you just use your common sense and avoid as much contact with others as is feasibly possible.
Gary Blick MD, for all of us who love and care for you at Health Care Advocates International