2020 Coronavirus Outbreak – How Does It Affect Philadelphia, PA?
COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 antibody testing now available at AFC Urgent Care South Philly
Can I get a COVID-19 Test?
Yes, we have COVID-19 Tests and Antibody tests available. Please start by making a Telemed Appointment. For more information, please click here.
Can I walk-in and get a COVID-19 Test?
No, all COVID-19 related tests must be by appointment only through our telemed service. A directly to make a telemed appointment is on our homepage or click here.
How much is a COVID-19 test?
Currently, most insurances are covering COVI19 related testing. Please check with your insurance regarding your latest benefits.
Do I need a referral from my primary care doctor to get a COVID-19 test?
No referral is needed at this time. Just a telemed appointment with one of our providers.
If you have symptoms of COVID19 or are asymptomatic but have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, please call the office at 215-964-9250 before coming to our center!
Our neighbors in South Philly have been asking questions about the coronavirus since it became news and began to impact our lives in March of 2020. We’ve put together this page of some of the most frequent questions we get asked. We will attempt to keep this page as up to date as possible; however, please keep in mind that this page is not updated in real-time.
Can I be tested for a COVID-19 infection at AFC Urgent Care South Philly?
Yes! You can be screened and tested for a COVID-19 infection at our clinic in South Philly. The process will start with a telemedicine visit with our doctor through your smartphone or computer. If your symptoms meet the guidelines for a test, we will ask you to drive to our center. While remaining in your car, one of our staff members (in full PPE gear) will come out to you to administer the test. At no time will a suspected COVID-19 patient enter our clinic to protect the health and safety of our staff and patients. The guidelines on who can get a test often change, so please call our clinic for more information.
I heard Governor Wolf closed all businesses in Pennsylvania, is your urgent care center open? Are you accepting COVID-19 patients?
Yes, we are open!
While many businesses have closed in the area, we are considered to be an essential business and continue to remain open. You are free to walk in for care anytime or make a telemedicine appointment to receive care. Please remember that all suspected COVID-19 patients must make a telemedicine appointment. Please feel free to call and ask our staff whether you should come in or make a telemedicine appointment for your current medical concern.
Are there any confirmed cases in Philadelphia, PA?
There have been confirmed infections in Philadelphia of COVID-19. In addition to this area, other infections have been confirmed in neighbor counties as well as in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. The increasing trend of infections has led to the closure of school districts and nonessential businesses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
During a press conference with Gov. Tom Wolf, Dr. Levine stated:
“Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur. We encourage people to prepare for potential life disruptions. The same family emergency plans and kits that we use to prepare for flu or norovirus, and even snowstorms and floods, are important now. Pennsylvanians should continue to help stop the spread of viruses by washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces, and staying home if you are sick.”
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus? How long do they take to appear?
This coronavirus shares many symptoms of the flu, a common cold, or a regular upper respiratory infection. These symptoms include:
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
- Muscle Pain
- Loss of smell
- Altered sense of taste
This coronavirus, however, can develop severe complications, including:
- Fever of over 100.4F
- Trouble Breathing
There is no conclusive research to indicate how long it takes for symptoms to appear. It is generally accepted that they begin two to fourteen days after infection. Other information also suggests that some people who are infected may never display symptoms but remain contagious.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
There is no current vaccine for COVID-19. Several are in development, but they are unlikely to be ready for months or even years. A flu shot will not protect you from the COVID-19 virus, but it would help protect you from the flu. Protection from the flu frees up resources to treat others suffering from a COVID-19 infection.
How does someone become infected from COVID-19?
Person to person transmission has been confirmed. It is believed that the virus travels on droplets that exit someone’s mouth when they cough. For this reason, face masks are highly recommended to be worn while outside. If you are infected but not showing symptoms, a mask will help contain any droplets.
I don’t feel well, and I have some of these symptoms. Am I infected? What are the risk factors for the COVID-19 coronavirus?
Community infection of COVID-19 is happening in Philadelphia, but there are still other things that could be causing your symptoms similar to this virus. The flu and upper respiratory infections have symptoms that mimic COVID-19. Your illness may not be related to COVID-19 at all. The main symptoms we see in cases include:
- A dry cough that produces no phlegm or mucus
- A fever
- Loss of taste and smell
If you have the symptoms mentioned above, do not visit AFC Urgent Care South Philly without first calling. Speak with our staff about your symptoms, concerns, and if you are at risk for COVID-19. Please call so we can provide guidance regarding treatment.
How can I prevent an infection from COVID-19?
The guidelines for preventing the flu can be used to protect you from the COVID-19. These guidelines are:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching surfaces and then your face
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Cover your nose and mouth if you feel sick
- Where a surgical mask or a face mask while traveling in public.
For additional protection
- Avoid live animal markets
- Cook food thoroughly
- Wear a surgical mask & eye protection at all times.
Can I receive a COVID-19 antibody test at AFC Urgent Care South Philly?
The COVID-19 antibody test is available at AFC Urgent Care South Philly.
Does a COVID-19 antibody test (also known as serology) tell me that I am currently suffering from COVID-19?
This test is not designed to be a diagnostic test to determine if you are infected with COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should not receive an antibody test. Serology testing is meant for patients who displayed signs consistent with COVID-19 but were never diagnosed with it and recovered, or for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and has recovered. This test helps when someone believes they may have had a COVID-19 infection in the past and need confirmation. Bottom line, a serology test is for people who are currently healthy or have recovered from their infection.
If my serology results say I have COVID-19 antibodies, does that mean I am immune?
This test is not intended to determine if you are immune from COVID-19 or to diagnose that you are infected. There have been documented cases where someone who has had COVID-19 was re-infected later. If COVID-19 mutates, like the flu virus or the common cold, you can get sick again even if you test positive for antibodies.
How many days after I am infected with COVID-19 should I expect my body to produce antibodies?
Research currently suggests that antibodies begin to appear in a detectable amount in 30% of patients four days after symptoms appear. This number increases to 75% after 8 to 10 days. The longer a patient waits after the onset of your illness, the more likely our antibody test will return a positive result for antibodies.
Why would I want to be tested for COVID-19 Antibodies?
Most people use a serology test to investigate:
- If someone has been exposed to the virus in the past, producing antibodies
- Track in a community who has been exposed to COVID-19
- Determine if someone has had COVID-19 after showing symptoms, but had a negative COVID-19 test result.
Am I currently infected with COVID-19 if my serology test comes back as positive for having antibodies?
Some antibody tests can identify active viral infection. This test does not test for those types of antibodies. We are looking for long term antibodies, also known as IgG. This is why you must wait until your symptoms have past to be tested. Again, results from a serology test should not be used as the only indication to diagnose a possible COVID-19 infection or your infection status.
What does a positive/negative antibody result mean?
A positive result from a serology test indicates a patient has likely been exposed to COVID-19, causing their immune system to produce a response. A negative result indicates that a patient has not developed antibodies at the time of testing. A negative result does not mean they have not been exposed in the past or mean they are currently not infected. If a patient has a condition or is taking medication to suppress their immune response, it could prevent antibodies from being produced. Confirmation of a COVID-19 infection must be made only after a combination of tests and a clinical evaluation.
If I have COVID-19 antibodies, can I give plasma to help other COVID-19 patients?
Plasma treatment has proven to be very effective for those suffering from COVID-19. Donating plasma can help others who are currently suffering from COVID-19.
Is the coronavirus related to SARS or MERS? Why is it called COVID-19?
Other coronaviruses can affect humans. Two recent outbreaks of coronaviruses include SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.) A coronavirus caused both of these outbreaks. SARS is thought to be more closely related to COVID-19 than it is to MERS. SARS also first originated in Asia, while MERS was first seen in Saudi Arabia.
2019-nCov was originally assigned to this virus due to changes in how new infections are named. “2019” represented the year it was first detected, and “nCov” stood for “Novel Coronavirus.” “Novel” is used because it looks like no other virus ever seen before. World Health Organization officials changed the way infections are named to avoid misinformation or fear. They no longer name things like Lyme Disease, named after a town, or Legionnaires Disease, named after the convention, when it first infected people. The name COVID-19 now identifies this coronavirus. This name denotes the year it was first detected (2019) and its status as a new coronavirus. Another name some scientists use to describe this virus is SARS-CoV-2 or “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.”
How did the COVID-19 outbreak start?
An outbreak of respiratory illness emerged in China and became international news in January of 2020. As it started to affect those living in Wuhan City, China, the World Health Organization began to investigate COVID-19 (originally named 2019-nCov), a novel coronavirus. It was causing severe illnesses among the population, and unconfirmed reports on Chinese social media channels suggest the outbreak was far worse than was being reported in the news. Towards the end of January, several areas were under quarantine, restricting the travel of millions of Chinese citizens. In other places in China, public transit was suspended, and businesses were asked to close for two weeks. Health authorities around the world began to monitor people coming from China for signs of infections. On January 30th, the World Health Organization declared this new coronavirus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Also, on January 30th, the State Department issued a Level 4: Do No Travel advisory asking all citizens to avoid travel to China and those in the country to depart immediately. Currently, the State Department advises against all international travel at this time.
AFC Urgent Care’s walk-in clinic in South Philly is up to date with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Do you have questions about the coronavirus? Feel free to call if you have any questions!
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