Novel coronavirus, COVID-19
Updated March 17, 2020
- PacMed is now offering testing for COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 Testing page for details.
- PacMed is postponing and rescheduling all non-urgent medical visits, to free up resources for COVID-19 response. Read what to expect and how you can help.
If you are experiencing a fever >100F or acute respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath), or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, please call your health care provider as a first step, before coming into a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency department. We can help triage your case and direct you to the right care for you.
You may also:
PacMed is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local health authorities. Our shared goal is to care for affected individuals while taking steps to limit person-to-person spread within our communities.
King County has issued recommendations for limiting public contact, especially for high-risk people. Read the latest public health bulletins.
If you are in King County and also believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, please contact the King County novel coronavirus call center: 206.477.3977, between 8 AM-7 PM daily.
Overview of the virus
COVID-19 is an illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus. It is believed to spread in ways similar to the common cold—such as through coughs, sneezes, or handshakes.
A person who has caught the virus may not show symptoms for between 5-14 days. This is called the incubation period. The person can spread the virus during this time. The virus may also live on non-disinfected surfaces for up to 9 days.
We are following established infection prevention protocols and remain prepared to care for patients. We have trained and practiced for these scenarios. When you enter a PacMed clinic, you may see certain staff members wearing masks. This is a preventative measure. Patients who exhibit any respiratory symptoms will also be asked to wear masks.
Chloroquine/Hydroxychloroquine prescription for COVID-19
There are no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. At present, clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care. There are no currently available data to inform clinical guidance on the use, dosing, or duration of hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
How to protect yourself and others
The following practices are recommended to stop the virus from spreading through different pathways:
- Practice social distancing, avoid public gatherings and work from home when possible.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Cover your cough or sneeze—using your elbow or a tissue. Then throw the tissue in the trash. (Putting a tissue on a table contaminates the surface of the table with germs.)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home except for food shopping and medical appointments.
- Self-quarantine if you have been told to by a medical professional.
- Routinely disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. You can use a cleaning spray or wipe that includes effective disinfectant ingredients, such as 62%-71% ethanol (ethyl alcohol), 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach).
- If common cleaning products are unavailable, you may be able to dilute the effective chemicals with water to create a safe and effective solution (see this handy dilution calculator).
- Note: It can be very dangerous to mix different cleaning products together. It's safest to only dilute with water.
COVID-19 is more serious for those who are elderly, have pre-existing illness, are immunocompromised, who smoke or are pregnant. Data shows the disease is more severe for those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension and cancer. Certain drugs may suppress your immune system and also put you at higher risk. Health care workers and first responders are at elevated risk due by virtue of their close contact with affected populations. Please check with your health care provider if you suspect you may have elevated risk.
If you fall into a high-risk category, we recommend taking additional precautions to protect yourself from exposure:
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Have items delivered or ask for help with shopping and errands.
- Avoid potentially infected people.
- If you need to leave home, wear a mask if you have one.
- Diligently following the protective and disinfecting measures listed above.
If you feel sick
Confirmed symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever over 100.0 F
- Difficulty breathing / shortness of breath / upper respiratory infection
If you think you have been exposed to the virus and have respiratory symptoms, please call your health care provider as a first step, before coming into a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency department. Your health care provider can give you instructions for seeking care, and will help you avoid exposing others. You can find phone numbers for each PacMed clinic here: www.PacMed.org/locations.206.477.3977, between 8 AM-7 PM daily.
When to stay home
You should stay home if:
- You have been told by a health care professional to self-quarantine.
- You believe you have been exposed to the virus, even if you are not showing any symptoms.
- You are sick or have respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath (also contact your health care provider).
- You have traveled to a country that the CDC lists at a level 2 or 3 travel health notice and feel ill.
- You are in a high-risk category as outlined above (over 60, preexisting medical condition, etc.).
Other resources to stay informed
- COVID-19 Testing at PacMed
- King County Public Health:
COVID-19 Updates and Alerts
King County cases self-report line: 206.477.3977
(Call between 7 AM-8 PM if you believe you believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19)
- WA Dept. of Health:
2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19)
Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center: 800.525.0127 (for general information)
- U.S. - Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Updates
- World Health Organization (WHO):
Advice for the Public
Coronavirus Q & A
Rolling Updates on COVID-19
- Johns Hopkins CSSE:
Real-Time Global Outbreak Map
Thank you for working with us to keep yourself and our communities safe. If you have questions about whether you should come into the clinic or another facility, such as an emergency room, please call us first at 1.888.4PACMED (1.888.472.2633).#coronavirus