CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19: Learn How To Protect Yourself And Get Care

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19: Learn how to protect yourself and get care

Updated June 4, 2020

The novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, is spreading from person to person in parts of the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high. At this time, however, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus as it is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States.

Current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic, which is the worldwide spread of a new disease. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the CDC’s risk assessment will be updated as needed.

Symptoms

Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms that can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Most infected people will recover on their own.

Tips

  • 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 a family member has traveled recently to an area of risk, or if you think you may have been exposed to the virus and have symptoms of respiratory illness, you should call the advice number on your Kaiser Permanente membership card for further instructions. It’s important to call us ahead of time rather than coming directly in to one of our facilities or making an appointment online. Calling ahead helps us direct you to the most appropriate care, and take precautions to protect other members, patients, and employees.

Guidance for people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness: Public health agencies recommend that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. This includes concert venues, conventions, sporting events, and crowded social gatherings.

People at higher risk include those:

  • Over 60 years of age
  • With underlying health conditions including include heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • With weakened immune systems
  • Who are pregnant

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.

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.

Testing

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 effective June 8, and Marlow Heights effective July 6. Members need a doctor’s order and appointment for the test.

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 December 31, 2020. 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.

Prescriptions

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?