Coronavirus Information




Coronavirus Community Information



Click here to learn more about Telehealth Visits via Smartphone, Laptop or Desktop.

Click here to view SMG's coronavirus assessment questions.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Antibody Testing

To Our Valued Patients,
 
During this moment of national uncertainty, I want you to be sure of one thing: our commitment to the safety and well-being of our patients will always be our highest priority.

As we closely monitor the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact to our communities, our clinics and hospitals remain open to provide the care you need.  

We are in close touch with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health authorities to ensure we continue to follow all current guidelines.

In this time of heightened concern, we have enacted several initiatives to continue to meet your health needs in a safe environment.

Telehealth Visits: We have enabled telehealth licenses for all our physicians. This means your doctor can conduct your visit over a video conference with sound, while you remain safe at home. These visits are secure and confidential. All you need is a smartphone, desktop computer, or laptop that has a web camera.  Telehealth visits are encouraged for patients with flu-like symptoms or those who prefer to not visit a doctor’s office during this time.

Pre-Screening: You will be contacted the day before your appointment with several questions.

  • Fever and cough, or shortness of breath, or any flu-like symptoms or sneezing?
  • Traveled – or –in close contact with someone who has traveled to CDC designated Level 2 or 3 Health Notice countries in past 14 days?
  • Asked to self-quarantine – or -- diagnosed or close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 in past 14 days.

These same screening measures are taken with our employees to ensure they are healthy and able to care for you. We will contact you should any details change regarding your appointment.

Visitor Policy: For your continued health and safety, visitor restrictions are in place at our hospitals and clinics. Please check the hospital’s website for the latest updates on our visitor policies.

Additional Resources: Should you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please visit the CDC. If you would like to visit further with a member of Steward’s Care Team, please contact our offices.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide medical care for you and your loved ones. We look forward to continuing to care for you.

Best Regards,

Joseph Weinstein, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Steward Health Care

 








Steward Medical Group Pre-Screening Questions



There are several questions you may consider to assess your personal exposure to Coronavirus. If you answered yes to the questions listed below, you may be risk.

  • IF YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 911 AND NOTIFY THE DISPATCH PERSONNEL THAT YOU MAY HAVE CORONAVIRUS.
  • If you feel you need medical attention, please call your physician for further instructions. The physician may conduct a telemedicine appointment with video and phone, recommend testing, or provide instructions for the Emergency Department.
  • If you feel you may be at risk but do not need medical attention, please self-quarantine and isolate from others within your household for 14 days before coming for an appointment and/or visiting a patient.
    • Clean your hands repeatedly, washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Wear a facemask when around other people. If one is not available, try to stay in a room at least 6 feet away from others.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Do not handle pets or other animals when sick.

Questions for potential symptoms

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

Have you been in contact with anyone who has been recently diagnosed with coronavirus in the last 14 days?

Have you travelled in the last 14 days?

  • If you have traveled to any CDC posted Level 3 country*, please self-quarantine for 14 days before coming for an appointment and/or visiting a hospital or clinic.

*Current CDC COVID-19 Level 3 Risk Countries as of March 16 are:

  • China
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, United Kingdom and Ireland: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland

*Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html and https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for updates.








Telehealth Visits via Smartphone, Laptop or Desktop



In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), telehealth visits expand access to medical care without visiting the doctor’s office for primary care and internal medicine, as well as a broad range of specialized care including cardiology, orthopedics, and women’s health.

STEPS FOR EXISTING PATIENTS

  1. Accept Doctor’s Appointment
    1. Open the secure email / calendar invitation
    2. Accept invitation
    3. Note: Please do not reply or use this email for regular communication.
  2. Download Software (2 Options)
    1. Microsoft Teams: https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads
    2. FaceTime: https://www.apple.com/itunes/
  3. Activate Appointment: 30 minutes prior to appointment,
    1. Microsoft Team (desktop, laptop, or smartphone):
      1. Open the email/calendar invitation.
      2. Click the link Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
      3. Type your name in the box
      4. Click the Camera and Microphone icons to enable video and audio
      5. Click “Join Now”
    2. FaceTime
      1. Confirm doctor’s office number in contacts
      2. At time of appointment, accept doctor’s call.
  4. Technical Difficulties: If the above steps do not work, please join the conference by dialing the number in the email invitation. Your visit will be conducted over the phone instead of video.

You will be in our virtual waiting room until your telehealth visit begins. Your physician or caregiver will join you at the time of your appointment. If you need assistance or have questions, please call your provider’s office.

We appreciate the privilege of caring for you.

For patients who prefer to see their doctor in person, Steward Medical Group clinics are open and continue to welcome patients for their appointments. Steward Health Care is closely monitoring COVID-19 and is following guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization, and is working closely with local and state health departments in the care of patients.








Coronavirus (COVID-19) Antibody Testing



Were you recently ill and wondering if you had COVID-19?  Have you been in self-quarantine at home and wondering if it’s now safe to return to work or resume other activities?

Nasal swab testing for COVID-19 can only tell patients if they currently are infected with the virus. However, an antibody test, also known as a serologic test, can reveal if you have been infected with the virus in the past.

Steward Medical Group is now offering antibody (serology) testing at many of our practices. Your Primary Care Physician and Nurse Practitioner teams can address your concerns and questions about COVID-19 and antibody testing through an in-person office visit, or a telehealth virtual visit.

Schedule An Appointment

Some of the most common questions and concerns we can offer you guidance on include:

  • Are you currently ill and have questions or concerns that you may have COVID-19?
  • Have you been exposed to someone with known COVID-19 and have questions regarding that?
  • How do we test for COVID-19? (nasal swabs and serologic testing can be reviewed)
  • When is serologic testing appropriate and what do the results of a serologic test mean?
  • What is the appropriate personal protective equipment and best personal hygiene practices to avoid contracting COVID-19?
  • How do we treat COVID-19?
  • Recovery from COVID-19, Available Support, Repeat Testing and Vaccine Outlook


How Does Antibody (Serology) Testing Work?

  1. Doctor’s office – Visit your doctor’s office or one of our laboratory partners
  2. Blood draw – a sample of blood will be drawn and tested
  3. Results to be shared from your doctor’s office


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are antibodies?

A: Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes after you have had an infection. Antibodies help increases your body’s ability to fight off a disease if you are exposed to it again. There are different antibodies depending on the time after infection and they can be measured to determine recent or prior exposure of infection.

Q: What is the difference between an antibody (serologic) test and a COVID-19 test swab test?

A: The nasal swab test, also called a nasopharyngeal test, is the test that is administered to identify whether a person has COVID-19 present in their nasal passages at the time the test sample is taken. It will not determine whether a person has had a prior infection of COVID-19.

The antibody, or serological test, is conducted by taking a blood sample from a person who has had COVID-19 and has developed antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19, known as SARS-CoV-2. The detection of antibodies identifies a past infection of the virus. The test will not show if a person is currently infected.

Q: What does a positive antibody test result indicate?

A: A positive result can reveal if a person was previously infected with COVID-19. It also shows that the person has developed antibodies to the virus. A positive test can also be a false positive, and even if a person tests positive for antibodies, it does not mean the person is immune to COVID-19. It can also be used to determine how widespread COVID has been in a particular population as well as identify potential donors of convalescent plasma to help patients who are seriously ill from the virus.

Q: What does a negative antibody test result indicate?

A: If a person tests negative for COVID-19 antibodies, it means there is no evidence that the person has had a past COVID-19 infection. If a person’s symptoms continue or have cleared up less than two weeks before the blood draw was taken, it may be too early to detect the presence antibodies.

Q: Who should be tested?

A: The COVID-19 antibody test used by Steward Medical Group is available to people of all ages who are not showing any symptoms related to COVID-19. People who are still recovering from COVID-19, or who remain sick, cannot be tested using the serologic test. Your Steward Medical Group provider can see you with a telehealth virtual visit or face-to-face visit to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for antibody testing.

Q: How much does the testing cost?

A: Many health insurance plans are covering the cost of COVID-19 antibody testing. We recommend you check with your health plan if your doctor determines you are an appropriate candidate for serologic antibody testing.

Q: Who gets the results of my test?

Your personal health information is protected by law under the HIPAA Act. Steward Medical Group follows all guidelines and direction provided by the US government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in regard to HIPAA. If you have a patient portal account, your provider will communicate with you securely and confidentially about your test results. You should also expect your provider’s office to call you directly with the results of your COVID-19 antibody (serologic) test to inform you of the results and respond to any questions you may have.