ARC starts COVID-19 Hotline and safety protocols at all clinic entrances
March 18, 2020
With our continued commitment to care for you, your loved ones, and our community, we want to keep you aware and informed about COVID-19. For the safety of patients and staff, we have implemented additional procedures in our clinics and on our phone lines.
The ARC COVID-19 Information and Advice Hotline is open 24/7 at 866-453-4525.
- We now have a COVID-19 Hotline that provides advice on self-care and treatment recommendations.
- You always have the option of scheduling an appointment with us if needed or you can speak with a nurse if you have questions.
ARC staff will meet you at the entrances to our clinics
- You will see them in tents at the outdoor entrance, outside doors or inside the medical office building before you enter for your appointment. Arrangements will be made in the event of inclement weather.
- The person who greets you will screen for symptoms of potential (viral) flu-like illness and collect enough information to check you in quickly and safely.
- The screening procedure is used to decide how we will guide you through the clinic.
- This protocol will apply to all visits at all clinics, both primary care and specialty care.
|If you do NOT have any fever or flu-like symptoms of (any viral illness) and nobody in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19:
This assures access to routine and urgent care visits while limiting potential exposure to viral illness.
- You will enter the clinic and check-in as usual.
- You will wait in the regular waiting area and be called back for your appointment as usual.
- Your waiting area will include patients who have been screened and do not have symptoms of any viral illness or any family members who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
|If you DO have symptoms of any viral illness or someone in your household has been diagnosed with the virus:
This assures access to quick and efficient care and advice while limiting the risk to transmit viral illness to others.
- The greeter will collect information and check you in.
- You will be asked to return to your vehicle or another agreed-upon spot separate from patients without symptoms and wait for an ARC guide.
- Please bring your cell phone with you to the clinic to help us contact you. If you don’t have a cell phone, we will make other arrangements.
- When ready, the ARC guide will meet you, put a mask on you, and escort you to your exam room.
For you and your loved ones' safety, we have a new visitor policy
- We discourage visitors, but If you need to be accompanied to your appointment by a friend or family member, please do not hesitate to do that.
- We will limit visitors to one healthy adult per patient.
- ARC greeters will screen all visitors before entering the clinic and visitors with symptoms of any viral illness will be required to wait outside of the clinic.
Please continue to view our COVID-19 FAQ and information page on AustinRegionalClinic.com for timely, practical, and informative updates about the virus and steps we are taking to prevent the spread of infection. Keep reading below for answers to questions we have received over the last few days.
We recommend everyone view this short, lively, informative video from ZDoggMD that explains how we can all “save the world!”.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work together to flatten the curve and serve our patients, employees, and the community. And don’t forget to WASH YOUR HANDS!
In good health,
Anas Daghestani, MD, CEO Austin Regional Clinic
Norman Chenven, MD, Founding CEO Austin Regional Clinic
Jay Zdunek, DO, Chief Medical Officer Austin Regional Clinic
Manish Naik, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer Austin Regional Clinic
How should I take care of myself or family members if I suspect COVID-19 or test positive?
If you display any signs of COVID-19, the best course of treatment in the majority of cases is to stay at home and treat your symptoms with over the counter medications. Here is what our ARC doctors recommend:
- Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headache, body aches, fever, and pain.
- Use the lowest amount of a drug that makes your fever get better as your body is working to fight the virus.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids including broth, tea, or another warm beverage.
- Use cough drops or an over the counter cough suppressant as needed. (Ask the pharmacist what over-the-counter cough medicine is best for your cough. There are many options and your pharmacist can give you good advice).
- Honey has been shown to help decrease coughing at night. The adult dose is 2 teaspoons (10 ml) at bedtime.
- Avoid smoking to protect your lungs from infection.
- Continue home isolation for 14 days from the start of symptoms, even if you are feeling better.
Why isn’t everyone being tested?
- Currently there is a shortage of swabbing and testing supplies in the United States, so we are not testing every patient with symptoms.
- Testing decisions are made by your doctor, consistent with current guidelines, at the time of your visit.
- The current capacity of testing labs to run the tests is limited, though that capability is expected to expand.
- The majority of cases, especially in children and young adults, are mild to moderate and with expected full recovery.
- We understand and agree that testing will eliminate uncertainty, we hope to do more testing when testing supplies and/or laboratory testing capacity are more readily available.
- Test results in most cases will not change the treatment plan, unless you are at high-risk or experience more severe symptoms.
When should I call my doctor?
Call your doctor If you experience:
- Trouble breathing
- Cough or fever worsen
- You think you need to be seen
- Seeking ER care is rarely recommended for mild to moderate COVID-19/flu-like symptoms unless you are having severe or progressive shortness of breath, chest pain, unable to keep fluids down or progressive drowsiness
Can I be tested for immunity if I had COVID-19 like symptoms (fever and cough) several weeks ago?
No, there is no test at this time that can inform us if the virus that causes COVID-19 was already in your system. Currently available testing only confirms active infection.
Can I do a video visit with my ARC doctor?
- ARC has a limited number of video visits we can do at this time, though we will be doing expanded video and phone visits over the next several days.
- If your clinic visit can be changed to a video visit, your healthcare team will contact you in advance.