March 17, 2020
To Our John Muir Health Foundation Friends & Family,

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, it’s important that we all work together to stay healthy and keep the most vulnerable in our community healthy. Doing your part will help not only your family, but those individuals who are at higher risk for serious illness, such as older people and those with compromised immune systems.

We know you may have questions and concerns about your family’s health, how to reduce your risk of getting sick, and what to do if you develop any symptoms.

Guidelines to help protect yourself, those around you, and our clinicians and staff:  

1. If you feel sick, stay home. It’s the best way to avoid spreading illness.
 
2. If you have flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, or sore throat:
  • Mild Symptoms: Stay Home

Please stay home, isolate from others in your house as much as possible, and follow prevention measures such as washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and disinfecting surfaces .
  • Worsening Symptoms: Call First

If you begin to feel worse, please call your primary care doctor . After hours or on weekends, please call one of our Urgent Care Centers .
  • Screening: At this time, John Muir Health Urgent Care Centers and many primary care doctors are not taking walk-ins, and we have also temporarily disabled online scheduling. This allows us to properly screen you over the phone so that we can guide you to the appropriate care.
  • Phone Visits: To help reduce the risk of exposing you and others to viruses, including COVID-19, many John Muir Health primary care doctors are doing most visits via phone. This means that you will have a scheduled appointment over the phone instead of in your doctor’s office. When you call us with symptoms, we’ll let you know if the most appropriate visit for you is a phone visit. 
  • Severe Symptoms: Call 911

If you need emergency care,  call 911 . Patients coming to the ER will only be tested if they meet high-risk criteria . This will ensure that those most in need of evaluation and testing can receive it. 
3. If you are told by your health care provider that you should self-quarantine, please stay home . Some viruses, including COVID-19, can be present without symptoms. Even if you don’t feel sick, you could still infect others in the community.
 
4. If you are sick, please leave your house only to go to doctor appointments, or to obtain food or medications. Please wear a face mask if you must go out. Avoid crowds as best as possible and obtain an adequate supply of food and medications so that you can minimize the number of times you go out. Consider using grocery delivery services when possible. 

Screening for COVID-19

We have launched an assessment tool on  johnmuirhealth.com  to aid in screening and reducing calls into our practices and urgent care centers for COVID-19. (Look for the turquoise circle in the lower right corner of the web page.) This assessment tool allows us to direct patients who may need more advanced screening to call us.  

We understand that many people would like to be tested for COVID-19 to confirm whether or not they have it. Unfortunately, there continues to be a shortage of tests available in the US. This means that COVID-19 tests are not being done for people with mild to moderate symptoms and who do not meet high-risk criteria . If you are told that you are not eligible to be tested, this means that your health care provider has determined that your risk-status and symptoms indicate that you will do best with at home care.

Things you can do to reduce your chance of getting sick

  • If you haven’t already, please get your flu shot. It’s not too late. 
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after touching surfaces that others may have touched such as elevator buttons, door handles, etc. Watch the CDC's hand washing video
  • When soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Be sure to let your hands dry completely.
  • Avoid touching your face. If you need to touch your face, use a tissue to do so.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces often.
  • Avoid larger gatherings.
See the  CDC's Steps to Prevent Illness  page f or more information.
 
The care and safety of our patients, community, clinicians and staff are our highest priorities. We all need to take appropriate precautions and work together as we manage the COVID-19 outbreak. 
For ongoing updates and information about COVID-19, please visit: