Coronavirus Precautions for Patients
Help Us Reduce the Potential Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
What to do if you are sick
Call us first. If you are experiencing a fever or respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath, please call us first. Our care team will complete a phone evaluation and provide you guidance on your next steps for treatment.
Equitas Health is not currently testing for COVID-19. Based on your phone evaluation, we will refer you to the appropriate testing location if necessary.
Who is at increased risk of complications from coronavirus and flu?
- People over age 60
- People with chronic disease (HIV, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease)
- People living with HIV of any age who have uncontrolled or longstanding HIV, previous low CD4 counts, or a history of opportunistic infection
(Please note: People with controlled HIV and CD4 counts above 200 without a history of significant opportunistic infections or other chronic disease should fare about the same with coronavirus as people of the same age with a negative HIV status.)
What to do if you are at increased risk
If you fit any of the at-risk categories above and have no symptoms, review the CDC website on higher risk patients to find out more about precautions you can take to reduce your risk of complications.
If you fit any of the at-risk categories above and start to have a fever and/or cough and shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider immediately and tell them about your symptoms.
Precautions for protecting those at increased risk
If you live with, care for, work with, or have regular contact with people who are at increased risk, you can protect them by following the precautions you would take if you were sick.
- Frequently wash or sanitize hands with the WHO handwashing method for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Frequently wash surfaces and handheld objects with alcohol.
- Do not touch your face.
- Stay away if you are coughing or sneezing or have a fever.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue and dispose of tissues directly into trash.
When to Consider Going to the ER
We encourage Equitas Health patients to call us if you are concerned about flu-like symptoms.
Only go to the ER for:
- Fevers over 102 degrees that don’t respond to over-the-counter fever reducers
AND one of the following:
- Worsening chest pain despite taking over the counter pain medication OR
- Cough OR
- Worsening shortness of breath
If you need to go to the ER, tell medical staff as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about coronavirus.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have symptoms for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.
Prevent the Spread of Germs
- Stay home if you are coughing and/or sneezing!
- Use a tissue to cover your coughs and sneezes and throw your used tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, turn away from people and cough into your shoulder or your sleeve. If you have a mask you can wear one, but this won’t fully protect the people around you.
- Do not use your hands to cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as these are the easiest areas for germs to spread through.
- Wash your hands often to avoid getting sick. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds — aka the equivalent of singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. If soap and water is unavailable, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands before you eat. Start by learning the World Health Organization’s six-step handwashing method.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, like your cell phone, door knobs, reusable beverage containers and work space using disinfectant wipes or sprays.
- Consider buying a digital thermometer so that if you do get a cough or cold, you can more easily monitor yourself at home and share changes in your temperature with our Equitas Health care team.
- Will wearing a mask protect me? Wearing a mask will not help to keep you healthy. We are not recommending that patients and community members purchase or obtain masks to prevent infection.
Regarding HIV/STI Testing
We are currently offering testing ONLY at the following Equitas Health locations and only by appointment (with the exception of drop-in testing at Dayton Medical Center). If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath, please call our office so we can provide you alternatives for HIV/STI testing. Some alternatives to in-person testing:
Other Tips for Staying Healthy
The best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is to follow the hand washing and cleaning instructions above.
You can also keep your immune system strong by
- taking your medications as directed
- drinking water
- getting enough sleep and
- exercising regularly
A simple walk every day goes a long way in minimizing stress and keeping you healthy.
Visit the Ohio Department of Health website for frequent updates about the status of coronavirus cases in Ohio and to learn more about recommended precautions for the general public.