CareNow® - May 05, 2020
by Dr. Martin Jones

With the coronavirus continuing to spread through our communities and interrupt our daily lives, it’s important to know how to protect yourself, your family and others during this sensitive time.

It's also important to know what to do once safer at home and stay at home orders are lifted.

One of the best ways to be proactive about protecting the virus from spreading is through social distancing and proper mask wearing.

This article, reviewed and approved by CareNow®'s chief medical doctor, Dr. Martin Jones, will guide you through best practices.

To do our part in supporting social distancing efforts, our CareNow® locations across the nation are now available for Virtual Visits.

This will allow you to safely visit with our providers via video session (in-person follow-up may be necessary depending on the illness or injury).

Virtual Visit Check-In

We can now also provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing and antibody testing.

COVID-19 diagnostic testing COVID-19 antibody testing

“Because the clinical features of COVID-19 overlap substantially with influenza and other respiratory viral illnesses there is no way to distinguish among them without testing.”

- Dr. Martin Jones, Chief Medical Officer for CareNow® Urgent Care

If you believe your symptoms align with COVID-19, please utilize our new online screening that will guide you through how to safely arrive to our facilities for testing.

Start your COVID-19 screening now

We have implemented rigorous safety protections to keep patients with everyday illnesses and injuries safe and separated from potential COVID-19 patients.

For more information, visit our COVID-19 resource hub.

What is social distancing and how does it work?

social distancing while waiting in line

Social distancing, also known as “physical distancing”, is the action of keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home.

To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Since people can spread the virus before knowing they are sick, it’s important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms.

“A person exposed to COVID-19 typically develops symptoms within 14 days with most people becoming symptomatic 4-5 days after exposure.”

- Dr. Martin Jones, Chief Medical Officer for CareNow® Urgent Care

Social distancing is especially important for people who have a higher risk of getting very sick such as those who are immunocompromised or elderly.

Should I still practice social distancing after safer at home and stay at home orders are lifted?

people wearing face mask at work

Yes.

Limiting close contact between you and individuals outside your home is one of the most effective tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread.

While it may be disappointing to hear that any vacations, sporting events, concerts and other gatherings will remain cancelled or postponed for the time being, there is a public health reason for these measures.

These cancellations were made to stop or slow the spread of disease and support our health care systems to more readily care for an influx of patients.

As cities begin to re-open for non-essential business per the guidance of their local government, it’s still important to continue practicing social distancing and wear a mask when going to public places such as grocery stores, restaurants and salons.

The reason this is still important is because others can be infected with the virus but show little to no symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus in your community.

“Experts believe that the virus can be spread 24 – 48 hours before an infected person develops symptoms.”

“A person exposed to COVID-19 typically develops symptoms within 14 days with most people becoming symptomatic 4-5 days after exposure.”

- Dr. Martin Jones, Chief Medical Officer for CareNow® Urgent Care

You should remain six feet apart (a little more than arm’s length away) and wear a face mask that covers both your nose and mouth whenever going to a public place until your local government advises otherwise.

Besides social distancing and wearing a face mask, how else can protect myself?

social-distancing-while-shopping

Frequent hand washing is still extremely important after coming into contact with shared surfaces such as mail, packages or after unloading and putting away groceries in your home.

When you come into contact with shared surfaces outside of your home (such as gas station pumps, check-out areas of supermarkets, etc.) remember to diligently wash your hands afterwards to minimize potential exposure to the virus.

An even better precaution is to wear disposable one-time use latex gloves. These gloves can also help remind and deter you from touching your face while you’re out shopping in public places.

Lastly, it’s recommended to also only use credit or debit cards for transactions, if possible, and avoid ATM machines.

If you do happen to handle cash, be diligent about washing your hands immediately afterwards.

How does social distancing prevent the spread of COVID-19?

adult helping child put-on face mask

Spread of the virus happens when a person infected coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose launch into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people close by.   

“The 6ft social distancing separation was recommended when researches identified that virus containing droplets from a cough or sneeze rarely traveled more than 6 feet.”

- Dr. Martin Jones, Chief Medical Officer for CareNow® Urgent Care

 

Recent studies show that people infected but not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 are likely playing a role in the spread of coronavirus.

It’s also possible that you could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Although, this is not considered to be the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 can potentially live for hours or days on a surface (counter tops, check-out areas, bus seats, etc) depending on various factors.

Social distancing helps limit contact with people who are infected and any potentially contaminated surfaces.

Although the risk of severe illness may vary, anyone can get and spread COVID-19. Therefore all of us have a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community.

Tips for proper social distancing

social distancing through video call

Here are some guidelines to follow if you have essential business to conduct or essential needs such as grocery shopping, visiting your local bank or post office, veterinary clinic, gas stations, etc.

  • Follow guidance from local authorities in your town or city.
  • If you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others and be sure to wear a cloth face cover.
  • Use mail-order for medications, if possible. Contact your pharmacy to see if delivery options are available.
  • Consider a grocery delivery service.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover at all times when around others, including when you have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or local post office.
  • Stay at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you’re wearing a face covering.
  • Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place.

This applies to people of any age, including teens and younger adults.

Children should avoid any in-person playdates while school is out to minimize potential exposure.

  • To help maintain social connections while social distancing, the CDC has created tips to keep children healthy while school’s out.
  • Work from home when possible.
  • If possible, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  • Students or parents should talk with schools about options for digital/distance learning.

Take care of your mental health by staying connected with your loved ones while keeping physical distance. It’s extremely important to stay in touch with friends and family that don’t live in your home.

Having to socially distance yourself from people you love can be difficult. Be sure to call, video chat or use social media to stay in touch.

The CDC has also designed tips for stress and coping with COVID-19.

CareNow® can help with Virtual Visits and Web Check-In

carenow virtual visit

With CareNow®'s Virtual Visits, you can now see a provider while maintaining social distance practices.

While many conditions can be seen and treated via Virtual Visits, there are times when an in-clinic visit is necessary for accurate evaluation and treatment.

In order to keep you safe, secure and confident, we have enhanced our safety measures to keep patients with common illnesses and injuries as safe as possible.

Some safety measures we’ve implemented are as follows:

  1. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms prior to patient entry.
  2. Patients who screen positive will be given a mask to wear and where possible, will be required to enter the clinic through an alternate entry separate from the general patient waiting area.
  3. Social distancing requirements have been put in place to provide extra seats between patients in our waiting area.
  4. We are limiting patient companions and visitors.
  5. We’ve increased our frequency of cleaning and sanitization for all shared areas and exam rooms.
  6. We’ve temporarily removed all and any shared items such as refreshments, magazines and toys.
  7. All clinic staff is required to wear a mask. Any patients who show signs of respiratory illness will be given a mask to wear.
  8. Our Web Check-In feature now spaces out the timing of arrival for patients. We also allow patients to call and check-in from their cars for additional social distancing precaution.

Whether it’s through a Virtual Visit or an in-person urgent care service visit, we look forward to seeing you.

Virtual Visit Check-In

Find your local CareNow urgent care clinic and book your Virtual Visit or in-person visit today!