Updated December 29, 2020
The world is facing an unprecedented medical crisis. Throughout this challenging time, your health and safety remain our top priority. Protect yourself and your loved ones with the help of this important information on COVID-19. Together, we can keep our communities healthy and strong.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath — similar to the flu. They’ve also experienced chills or shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of sense of smell or taste. While information so far indicates that most cases are mild, symptoms appear to be more severe in the elderly and people with chronic conditions.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol hand sanitizers are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick (except to get medical care). Keep sick children home from school or daycare.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you use a tissue, wash your hands afterwards.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.
- Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
If you or your family think you may have been exposed to the virus or have symptoms of respiratory illness, you should call the advice number on your Kaiser Permanente membership card for further instructions.
Guidance for people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness
COVID-19 causes a mild illness in many people. But some people may be at higher risk for having severe symptoms from COVID-19. A recent study found that 88% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had more than one chronic condition, and other factors can also increase your risk.
You may be at high risk if you:
- Are 65 or older
- Live in a long-term care facility
- Have an ongoing serious health condition, such as:
- Lung disease or asthma
- Heart conditions
- High blood pressure
- Severe obesity
- Kidney or liver disease
- A weakened immune system
- Cancer treatment
Anyone who has questions about whether their condition puts them at risk for COVID-19 should call the advice number on their Kaiser Permanente membership card.
If you have an ongoing health condition, here are some ways you can help keep yourself safe.
- Stay home as much as you can.
- Have supplies on hand, like food, household items, medical supplies, and over-the-counter and prescription medications.
- Routinely clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and phones.
- Limit visitors.
- When you leave home, keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others.
- Wear a cloth face cover when you’re near other people.
- Wear gloves or carry tissues or paper towels with you to protect your hands when you need to touch things like door handles, shopping carts, and handrails.
- Don’t touch your face, and wash your hands often.
- Have a plan in case you get sick
Care at home
To make sure you get the high-quality care you need, we’re increasing the availability of video and phone visits. This allows you to get great care without being close to people who are showing symptoms.
- To schedule a phone or video visit, sign in to the Kaiser Permanente app or kp.org.
- In addition to phone and video visits, members who have flu-like symptoms and are 18 or older can also complete an e-visit to get online care and advice, be tested for coronavirus, and get treatment for symptoms if necessary.
- If you have an in-person visit scheduled, it may be changed to a video or phone visit to help reduce exposure for you and other patients.
- If you have any questions, feel free to call or email your doctor’s office.
COVID-19 testing will continue to be available at our triage assessment areas at Capitol Hill, Gaithersburg, Largo, South Baltimore, Tysons Corner and Woodbridge medical centers. We are now offering additional drive-up testing locations at our medical centers in Kensington, Manassas, and White Marsh, and Marlow Heights.
KPMAS Reminder on Scheduling COVID-19 Test For Travel
Testing before travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. It does not eliminate all risk but when combined with isolating at home and other precautions (masks / social distancing), it can make travel safer.
The safest option is to quarantine for 14 days and then get tested before traveling. Due to the expected higher volume of testing around the holiday season, please schedule your COVID-19 test at least 4 to 5 days in advance of your expected travel. If you are getting tested to meet airline travel requirements, please carefully review guidance from your airline carrier to ensure you time COVID-19 testing appropriately.
After you are tested for COVID-19, your sample is sent to our laboratory. The results will be posted to your kp.org account and you will receive an automated message. If you do not have access to kp.org, please visit kp.org/registernow to sign up.
Remember it is important to quarantine between the time of the test and the time of travel. Please continue to wear a mask and social distance.
Extension of COVID-19 testing, diagnosis, or treatment at no additional cost
You do not have to pay for costs related to COVID-19 treatment through March 31, 2021 or the last day of the month following the end of the national public healthy emergency, whichever is later. Testing and diagnosis continue to be available at no additional cost. We believe cost should not be a barrier for our members who have received a doctor’s order to be tested. Remember, tests are only available with your doctor’s referral. If you’re concerned you have symptoms, start by visiting kp.org/getcare.
Our pharmacies continue to be open in all our facilities. We encourage members to use our mail-order prescription program that usually delivers medications in 3-5 days. Use our mobile app, kp.org/rxrefill, or call 1- 800-700-1479 (TTY 711), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Same-day delivery is available at a cost of $8.99. We are also offering curbside pharmacy pick-up at all locations except Prince Georges Medical Center.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to the health and safety of our members, patients, employees, and physicians. We have been working on confronting highly infectious diseases for years, and we are confident we can safely treat patients who have been infected with this virus, with very little risk to our other patients, members and employees. Staff at all our medical centers regularly drill using various disaster scenarios, including detection of infectious diseases, and have been advised about the CDC protocols to be used with this coronavirus. Additionally, as in all cases of emerging infectious diseases, the CDC’s recommendations could change, so we are monitoring and following them closely. Please know you are in good hands with us.
For more information, please watch these videos:
What is COVID-19 and What Are the Symptoms?
How Can I Protect Myself From Getting COVID-19?
How to Properly Wash your Hands.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have the Coronavirus?
Is Kaiser Permanente Prepared for COVID-19?
Where Can I Learn More About Coronavirus and COVID-19?