We are open and in the office during the current Coronavirus pandemic, handling patients in two ways.
Regular medical and dermatology visits are occurring as usual.
For patients who prefer telemedicine appointments, Medicare covers those phone appointments. Private insurance may not and we will bill for those as an office visit as usual.
For anyone who is sick, please call the office or exchange after hours to speak to Dr. Sleep or Dr. Sandell.
We can help determine who should be seen and who should stay home.
Long Beach Health and Human Services has made testing for COVID-19 exposure/infection available to patients with a physician’s order, who are experiencing symptoms of viral infection.
Those over 65 years of age with underlying health conditions are given priority.
However, symptomatic individuals who do not meet that criteria can also be tested.
Again, this is for persons with symptoms.
If you have symptoms, call our office and after a discussion about your symptoms, we will send an order to Long Beach Public Health who will then contact you with the time and place of testing.
UC Irvine Health also has a referral resource for testing.
Patients can call a triage team to determine if the testing criteria are met and then be scheduled for a viral infection swab test.
Looking for past exposure and recovery, we can now draw blood for the testing of the antibody to COVID-19 in our office via Quest Laboratories.
There are other testing sites and companies that claim antibody testing but we are skeptical of these claims.
The reliability and accuracy of some of these tests is questionable.
Through our many years of experience, we have become confident in Quest Labs professionalism and scientific methods.
Thus, we have waited to offer the testing to you until Quest Labs was ready to perform the testing and report on results.
We are not yet aware of the cost, either thru insurance, Medicare or cash but this will become clearer soon.
If you wish to be tested for the antibody to COVID, you may make an appointment to discuss this option and to more fully understand the results when they are available.
We can also include this test when you return for your general medical follow-up.
We are following strict guidelines in the office with masks, etc. for your safety.
Again, for anyone sick and needing active infection testing, please do so over the phone and through the testing sites – not at our office.
These active infection tests are generally performed by drive-thru testing sites such as the Long Beach Health and Human Services resource or the UC Irvine Health resource.
More will become available soon.
As always, we are here for your medical needs now and in the future.
As a general rule, please remember to stay inside whenever possible and always practice social distancing.
We hope this information helps to answer some of the questions about what has become such a big adjustment in all of our everyday lives.
If you experience signs of infection…
Mild COVID-19 cases:
- Shortness of breath
Severe COVID-19 cases:
- Chest Pain
If you’re exhibiting the three primary symptoms – fever, cough and shortness of breath – call our office first.
Pain in the chest typically warrants an emergency department visit, no matter the illness in question.
The same goes for progressive or sudden onset of shortness of breath or any sudden change in mental functioning.
However, fever and cough, may be managed at home with a call to our office.
COVID-19 doesn’t have a cure yet, just relief from symptoms.
How to protect yourself from coronavirus
The best way to avoid it is to practice everyday prevention measures: Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer and stay away from sick people.
This disease is transmitted by respiratory droplets. If droplets from a sneeze or cough land in your mouth or nose, or if you inhale those droplets, the disease may be transmitted from one person to the next.
Staying 6 feet away from a person (social distancing), minimizes the possibility of that happening.
Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. If you do need to cough or sneeze, be sure to cover it.
Wearing a protective face mask and gloves also greatly reduces the risk of catching or spreading the virus.
If you are older or if you have other medical conditions, you’re at higher risk. Adhering to these preventive measures is very important to avoid becoming ill, and if you are already sick, following these measures prevents you from giving the infection to someone else.