To get a Covid-19 Work Letter Please Call Us At (616) 647-3770
To our patients:
As we try and navigate the ever-changing situation regarding COVID-19 we know that there are more questions than answers. We will try and keep this website updated periodically but for the most updated information please see the Kent County Health Department Website at www.accesskent.com.
Please also see this link to very helpful information about COVID-19 from the CDC, as written by Los Angeles County Health Dept: http://www.ph.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/about/GuidanceTestResults.pdf. This document describes current known symptoms, what you should do if you have symptoms or are exposed, when you should get tested, and other frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19.
Current local advice regarding TESTING, as of 7/15/2020:
1) If you have any SYMPTOMS of COVID-19 (especially fever >100.4, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, or fatigue) GET TESTED.
• If you are having trouble breathing, go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.
• During business hours we can order testing for you through one of the local hospitals. Please call the office to schedule a telehealth visit to talk with one of our providers about your symptoms and what the most appropriate course of action might be.
• If symptoms are mild, you can also schedule your own testing or screening through various local agencies. See www.michigan.gov/coronavirus for a list of testing sites. Most will bill your insurance for this.
2) If you have been EXPOSED to someone who was ill with COVID-19 and you yourself do not have symptoms:
• The incubation period of coronavirus is 2-14 days. This means it could take UP TO 14 DAYS to develop symptoms. You can start being contagious 2-3 days PRIOR to symptoms appearing. You may also spread the virus to others without actually ever getting symptoms yourself.
• A “close contact” exposure is defined as contact within 6 feet of someone with known COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes. This would be a higher risk type of exposure.
• If you have had a “close contact” exposure to COVID19 we recommend that you QUARANTINE at home for the 14 day incubation period. If this is absolutely not possible, you must practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from persons at all times and wearing a mask/facial covering at all times.
• If you choose to get tested after an exposure, we recommend that you wait until at least 5 days after the exposure to get tested. This is because testing too early might lead to a false negative result. Even if you get a negative test, you still need to social distance at least 6 feet and wear a mask (and ideally quarantine) for the entire 14 day incubation period to be 100% sure you won’t be spreading the virus.
• Current testing procedures for close contact exposures are the same as if you were symptomatic: During business hours we can order testing for you through one of the hospitals. You can also schedule your own testing or screening through various local agencies. See www.michigan.gov/coronavirus for a list of testing sites. Most will bill your insurance for this.
• If you were exposed but it wasn’t a “close contact” exposure: at this time the Kent County Health Department is the only Grand Rapids agency testing people in this situation. You do need an appointment, but they are testing anyone who wants a test for free. Call 616-632-7200 or see their website www.accesskent.com for scheduling and availability. If you are outside of Kent County we would recommend contacting your local health department for their current protocol.
3) Antibody Testing (blood test)
• This type of testing can possibly tell you if you have had COVID-19 already. It is not the test you need if you are currently ill or have had a recent exposure.
• Negative results are accurate. It means you do not currently have antibodies to the virus causing COVID-19. Likely this means you did not have COVID-19 in the past.
• Positive results are less accurate. At best it means you have a 70% chance of having had COVID-19 at least 10 days ago.
• In general, we do not recommend getting antibody testing at this time.
There are too many questions and uncertainties regarding the meaning of these tests. Are you immune? Can you get it again? What about next year? Do the antibodies go away at some point? Can I still spread it to others?
• If you would still like this testing done, please call our office during business hours and speak to our nurses. Of note, insurance is not covering this test and you will need to ask the lab how much it might be.