What You Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
An Update from The GW Medical Faculty Associates - May 21, 2020
Your health and those of all people in the capital region is our top priority. As your caregivers, we want to ensure that we are able to meet your needs during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Please visit our reopening page for more information on resuming in-person services. As a reminder, We urge anyone with fever, cough and shortness of breath to call your provider first. We have testing available for COVID-19 at our GW Immediate & Primary Care sites and also weekdays at our Ambulatory Care Center at 22nd & I St., NW.
Virtual Health Visits Available
We are offering virtual health visits for almost all of our specialty care areas. Please contact your provider to schedule your virtual health visit, or call (202) 677-MED3 (6333). It’s easy, convenient, and safe.
Drive-Through Testing Site
GW is now offering an appointment-only COVID-19 testing site for adults with a provider referral. Our drive-through and pedestrian test collection sites will be open for testing in Washington, D.C. from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The drive-through testing site will be at 20th and H Streets NW (cars entering at 22nd and H Street NW) and pedestrian testing will be at 22nd and I St NW. Please visit GWCovid19Testing.com for more information.
You must have a physician referral to make an appointment. Testing is by appointment only. We are offering a walk-up option for patients without a car. These on-site testing options are a service of the George Washington University Hospital, Medical Faculty Associates and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Please visit GWCovid19Testing.com
Patient/Visitor Guideline Update
In an effort to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and provide a safer environment and promote social distancing which is recommended by the CDC, we are asking that patients limit the number of people accompanying them to an appointment to no more than one person. Additionally, we are respectfully asking that children not accompany any adult patients, unless there is a medical necessity. Thank you for understanding our need to do so and for helping us keep you and our greater community healthy.
We are also asking any patients with a cough, shortness of breath or fever to please wear a mask before entering our facilities. Hand washing, social distancing, and self-isolation are still the best ways to prevent this virus from spreading more widely. We are committed to providing the best care to you and will continue to give you the best guidance we can.
Thank you for your patience, we will be working with you to make sure we keep you and our community healthy. The GW Medical Faculty Associates will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.
Due to COVID-19, we will be reaching out to you to reschedule any non-essential appointments (re: physicals, annuals, and other well visits) until further notice. The GW Hospital will be limiting visitors to keep patient population safe and reduce risk of COVID 19 transmission. If you have the following symptoms: shortness of breath, fever, cough, reach out to your provider before visiting the doctors office.
Visit the GW Immediate & Primary Care website for the latest information on operational hours and services available at each site. You can also call ahead if you have questions. We are proud of our staff who are working during this time, and pledge to you our highest service possible during this pandemic.
GW Cancer Center (GWCC) - General Guidance for Patients
At the GWCC, the safety of our members, staff and in particular our cancer patients, many of whom are immunocompromised, is a top priority. In the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that our cancer patients may have more concerns than the general population about contracting the virus. We are hard at work developing strategies to continue to deliver comprehensive care while minimizing unnecessary exposure of our patients within our clinical setting.
Help Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus), it’s important to prevent the spread of the illness to other patients, health care providers, your family, and the broader community.
Remember: Not everyone needs to be tested. If your symptoms are mild and you have no complex medical issues, please stay home and self-isolate. If you’re concerned that you’ve been exposed or have a general question about COVID-19, you can call:
- The GW Medical Faculty Associates at 202.741.3000 (8:00 am to 4:30 pm - Monday to Friday)
- Our triage team will ask you a few questions and determine if you will need to be contacted by our triage nurses or provided more detailed information regarding your needs.
- After hours, please call the GW Hospital Emergency Department at 202.715.4000
General Information about COVID-19
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It is part of a larger family of viruses called coronavirus, some of which are in circulation normally and can cause illnesses like the common cold. This Novel Coronavirus is not the same strain coronavirus as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). You can learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW IS THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS 2019 TRANSMITTED OR SPREAD?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.
CAN SOMEONE SPREAD THE VIRUS WITHOUT BEING SICK?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
CAN IT SPREAD FROM CONTACT WITH INFECTED SURFACES OR OBJECTS?
- It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness.
This list is not all inclusive. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.
HOW IS COVID-19 DIAGNOSED?
There are actually many tests being used to diagnose COVID-19 that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized for use during the current emergency. All of these viral tests identify the virus in samples from the respiratory system, such as from nasal or nasopharyngeal swabs. Some tests are conducted at the testing site you visit, and results are available to you within minutes. Other tests must be sent to a laboratory to analyze, a process that takes 1-2 days once the lab receives your samples. Two tests allow you to collect your own sample at home – either a nasal swabexternal icon or a saliva sampleexternal icon – but you will still need to send the sample to a lab for processing.
HOW IS COVID-19 TREATED?
While there are no approved treatments for COVID-19 at this time, you can relieve symptoms by remaining well-hydrated and using pain and fever relief medications such as TYLENOL (acetaminophen). Tamiflu is not indicated for the treatment of COVID-19.
If symptoms get worse and you become short of breath or breathless with minimal activity, call your healthcare provider or if you don’t have a provider, call one of our GW MFA Immediate and Primary Care sites location that is most convenient to you.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF AND MY FAMILY?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus by following the preventive actions below.
EVERY DAY, PREVENTIVE ACTIONS CAN HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, INCLUDING:
PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Sneeze or cough into your flexed elbow or cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- If someone in your house tests positive for COVID-19, stay home.
- Work or engage in school from home.
- Practice social distancing. Avoid large gatherings, physical contact (handshakes, kisses, hugs), and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet with people.
SHOULD I WEAR A FACEMASK?
- In light of data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important in the event that someone is infected but does not have symptoms. A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people must go into public settings (grocery stores, for example). Medical masks and N-95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
The CDC website has additional FAQs on the topics of Travel, Pregnant Women and COVID-19, and COVID-19 and animals.
This page was adapted from CDC.gov, last updated May 13, 2020:. Please visit their website for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html