Bayfront Health Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda are offering an easy-to-use screening option specific to COVID-19. Individuals with concerns or mild to moderate symptoms specific to COVID-19 can use their VirtualHealthConnect app to speak with an experienced healthcare provider using a smartphone or computer. Because virtual visits can take place from home, they can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
COVID-19 cannot be diagnosed through a virtual visit, but doctors can evaluate symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, discuss known risk factors, and answer questions. If testing is indicated, a referral can be provided to the right location for an in-person visit. Virtual visits are $40 and not covered by insurance.
Visit https://www.bayfrontcharlotte.com/ virtual-visits for information about how to download and use the VirtualHealthConnect app. Frequently asked questions are also provided.
A virtual visit or call to your physician’s office is the first step for those concerned about COVID-19 exposure. Most people with COVID-19 will not heed hospital care and should follow instructions for appropriate testing locations, as needed. However, if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, a severe headache of other life-threatening conditions, call 911.
The Importance of Hand Washing
One of the most effective ways to not spread germs is handwashing. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person
to another, and even throughout an entire community. You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands often, especially during these times when you are likely to get and spread germs.1
COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. When an infected individual coughs or sneezes, these droplets are dispersed in the area the person occupies. One possible way a person can get COVID-19 is by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. For this reason, handwashing is one of the major ways to prevent the spread of the virus, and helps keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.3
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) handwashing with soap removes germs from hands and in turn helps prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19 because:
• People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
• Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
• Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
• Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent respiratory infections and viruses such as COVID-19.2
In the event soap and water are not readily available, and you are not able to wash your hands, an alternative is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. The sanitizer’s product label should specify the amount of alcohol it contains.
Though using hand sanitizer can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands it does not get rid of all types of germs. Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy, and might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.1
Due to the nature of a respiratory illness like COVID-19, and the way the virus spreads, the best thing we can do as a community to prevent the spread of infection is to wash our hands.