March 16, 2020

We recognize the stress and anxiety that the current health care crises has placed on all of our patients as well as families and loved ones. This is compounded by the fact that the course of this pandemic along with specific recommendations for prevention and treatment is unfolding rapidly on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. Our practice is as always available to you for questions and other support during this COVID-19 outbreak. In response, modifications are being instituted to the practice in an effort to ensure the well-being of patients, as well as our health care providers.

  • Routine office hours will remain 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Every attempt will be made to treat patients with respiratory signs and symptoms by phone or teleconferencing. Patients with fever, cough, and/or respiratory signs and symptoms will not be seen in the office but will be referred to an appropriate treatment site if indicated.

Johns Hopkins will be setting up a drive-through facility for COVID-19 testing on the Green Spring campus by physician referral only in the very near future. Patients that develop fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath for whom testing is felt to be indicated for COVID-19 will be sent to the Johns Hopkins main campus at present and to the Green Spring Station facility in the near future. Patients with significant shortness of breath will be directed to the Emergency Room for evaluation. Influenza testing will be done simultaneously at these facilities.

COVID-19 presents a serious health threat to our nation and the rest of the world. The number of cases is growing each day. We do not know how many people have been affected as widespread testing is only now becoming available. Furthermore, patients may be asymptomatic with the illness or manifest a very mild respiratory syndrome. Elderly individuals and particularly the elderly with co-existing illnesses are most susceptible to serious consequences of the virus. These are mainly respiratory in origin. Children seem to fight the illness quite well, but appear to be carriers or vectors of the virus. It is important to note that we as scientists are learning more and more about the virus on a daily basis.

To protect ourselves and our families against the possible consequences of the illness, we should follow the following prevention strategies.

  • Do not underestimate the potential serious nature of COVID-19.
  • Exercise frequent handwashing with soap and water. Hand sanitizers (Purell) may be used but are not a substitute for soap and water).
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands.
  • Cleanse and disinfect surfaces routinely in the home and workplace where the virus can reside, (doorknobs, counters, etc.).
  • Maintain “social distance” so that you are not easily exposed to others who may be infected with the disease, even if they do not have any symptoms.  (This is considered to be 3-6 feet away from others).
  • Refrain from non -essential travel.
  • Refrain from large group gatherings that might expose you to the infection.
  • Please note that your physician providers and other staff may be wearing masks and other personal protective equipment for infection control purposes.

The u.s. Healthcare System and our practice as well are being challenged during this crisis, so please be patient with response time for your concerns. We will triage appropriately and efficiently. Requests for letters to insurance carriers in regards to trip cancellations will be processed in a timely fashion, but not on an emergency basis. We appreciate your understanding on this matter. We will remain on the forefront of this pandemic and will be available to you 24/7 via phone, text, or e-mail. We should not panic during the course of this illness. This communication is meant as a guide and is based on the information that we have today from reliable healthcare resources. We should all use common sense in regard to our everyday activities. There is much misinformation on the news and social media. The following are regularly updated and reliable websites to provide you with more in-depth information:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/