We are continuing to update our office practices daily as we learn more about the COVID-19 situation. Our first priority as always is your safety.
As of March 16, 2020 our office will be temporarily closed and is tentatively scheduled to re-open for in-office visits on March 22, 2020
We will be offering telemedicine for follow up appointments only starting today. We will not be offering this for annual physicals or new patients consults. If you would like to change your follow up visit to a virtual visit, please contact our office.
Current recommendations for our practice:
- Patients over the age of 60 and those with chronic illnesses should self-quarantine and avoid contact with others. Please see the CDC recommendations on self-quarantine protocols.
- We recommend that you cancel all travel for the near future, domestic and international.
- If you must travel, please follow any CDC recommendations on isolating yourself for two full weeks after you return, to minimize effects on others.
- There is no specific data on the rate and severity of COVID-19 virus infection in patients with rheumatic diseases, especially those taking prednisone, DMARDs, biologics or other immunosuppressive medications. Therefore, we will be following our current practice guidelines for interrupting therapy during an infection. Please call our office prior to discontinuing any medication. - We are recommending that patients stay up to date and receive all appropriate vaccinations, including seasonal influenza, pneumonia, pertussis, and shingles vaccines. These will not prevent the COVID- 19 virus, but may lessen the chance of a secondary infection and will prevent illnesses that could be confused with COVID-19. You should wash your hands frequently and in general avoid touching your face and other mucous membranes including your mouth, nose, eyes and ears.
- There are currently no prophylactic or therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 at the present time. Testing of potential therapies is underway in the U.S., Japan, and China, and work to develop a vaccine is also moving forward. However, it is unclear when these will be available. - Please keep in mind that we are still in flu season and are continuing to see cases of Influenza as well as the common cold and symptoms of allergies all of which can mimic mild symptoms of COVID-19 virus. - The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus is to limit exposure to others. Limit social activities that include large gatherings of people and unnecessary exposures.
There is limited testing available for the COVID-19 virus and is only available for patients who screen positive for a possible infection. Current recommendations for testing include:
- Any person who has returned from any travel outside of LA county in the last 14 days AND has a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other acute respiratory symptoms.
- Any person who has been in close contact with a person diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus AND has fever, cough, shortness of breath or other acute respiratory symptoms.
Patients with fever, cough or shortness of breath AND 1. Recent travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Japan or Europe. 2. Direct contact with a known confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days. Please let us know if you have any of the above risk factors. We understand that many patients want to be tested. If you have mild symptoms, we recommend that you stay home. If you have more severe symptoms, we will assess if COVID-19 testing is appropriate. Also, if you do have more severe respiratory symptoms, we will be recommending that you be seen in the emergency room or urgent care. At urgent care, you can be tested for more common viral and bacterial illnesses including Influenza, RSV, Strep and other viruses that can mimic the symptoms of COVID-19 virus.
You can understand how many calls we are getting about this topic. We thank you for your patience while we try to get back to everyone in a timely way. We are here to help you during this time and will stay in close contact to provide you with any new updates as they become available.
Susan A. Baker, MD and Staff