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Coronavirus Disease 2019
The situation with COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus “SARS-CoV-2” or coronavirus disease 2019) is changing rapidly, with new developments coming day by day, hour by hour. For everyone in our community, our lives have changed dramatically in the past few weeks. We want to thank you for reading our many messages and listening to the guidance we’ve put in place to keep our patients healthy during these unprecedented times. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Our team at Community Care Physicians stands ready to care for you - safely - during this most critical time. We want to offer reassurance as we navigate this crisis together and move forward. We're in this together, even if 6 feet apart.
Community Care Physicians has been approved by the New York State Vaccine Administration Program to receive and distribute vaccines at our 5 centralized vaccine locations planned across the area - in our Health Parks in Latham, Delmar, Clifton Park, Niskayuna, and North Greenbush, NY. A priority matrix and phased approach to administering the vaccine to our community has been outlined by NYS. CCP is using this guidance and applying it across our employee and patient population. Limited amounts of COVID-19 vaccine have been made available to New York State by the Federal Government.
As more vaccine becomes available, priority groups will be expanded. All of us – including CCP, area hospitals, and the Regional Vaccine Hub at Albany Med– are responding as best we can to the directives and the allocations emanating from the state. We will continue to keep you informed as to our process and when you can get vaccinated, depending on vaccine supply, distribution, and prioritization.
COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing and IgG Antibody Testing
Community Care Physicians offers two different types of coronavirus tests for our patients in the Capital Region, NY - COVID-19 (PCR) diagnostic testing, including rapid testing for patients who medically qualify, and IgG COVID-19 Antibody Test. The COVID-19 PCR Test is a nasal swab used to directly detect the presence of disease. This test determines if you are currently infected with COVID-19. This test is offered at CCP's centralized testing centers in Latham, NY and Troy, NY by appointment only for patients of CCP who have an order from a CCP practitioner. If you need to be tested and you're not a patient, don't worry. Use our Urgent Care Center in Latham, NY as a portal of entry to our system to be tested.
CCP also offers the IgG Antibody Test which measures a particular class of antibody (IgG) directed against the COVID-19 virus. Rather than showing if you are currently infected with COVID-19, this antibody test may indicate if you've had COVID-19 in the past and have since developed antibodies. Antibodies are usually detectable 2 or more weeks after the start of the infection. A POSITIVE test means that you have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and that your body has had time to manufacture an “anti-COVID-19” antibody. A NEGATIVE test means that there is no evidence of a prior exposure OR that your body has not had time to manufacture an “anti-COVID-19” antibody. This test is available to patients at their CCP doctor's office and at CCP's Lab Draw locations, once you have an order from your CCP provider. If you need to be tested and you're not a patient, don't worry. Use our Urgent Care Center in Latham, NY as a portal of entry to our system to be tested.
Telehealth (video and phone visits) now available for CCP patients
We are doing everything we can to stay connected to you. We continue to provide care in our offices, and we also offer telehealth as an option to deliver care! Telehealth includes telephone visits or video and audio visits using Doxy.me to provide you care. Your visit is documented in your electronic health record just like a traditional visit. Call your CCP doctor's office if you need an appointment. Don't delay your care. We want to see you in person or using telehealth to continue to manage your health so you don’t experience any issues down the road. You don't need to download any apps or software. All you need to do is click the link provided by your doctor's office and, when prompted, enable your camera and microphone on your smart device or computer. Many insurances have waived the out of pocket fee for telehealth visits during the COVID-19 crisis. However, not all have, and coverage changes often as the situation evolves. You may be charged a copay, coinsurance or your deductible depending on your insurance and the reason for your visit. Your insurance company determines this, not CCP. If you do have a cost associated with the telehealth visit, it wouldn’t be any more than what you would normally pay for a visit in our offices, and you’ll receive the same quality and scope of care over telehealth. We don’t know exactly when this crisis will end, so we want to be sure that you receive the care you need now. Rest assured that our mission remains providing you the best health care possible even in these challenging times.
Safety is Our Priority - Enhanced Infection Control Procedures at Our Offices
There is no higher priority for us than the safety of our patients and employees. The care we provide is essential to our patients. We must continue to provide this care in our offices and virtually using telemedicine. We follow strict infection control procedures, based on the guidance of CCP's COVID Response Team, the New York State Department of Health, and the CDC, to keep our patients and staff safe. The situation is evolving quickly, and we are working diligently to approach it with a mix of caution and accommodation as your healthcare provider. We need to be sure you are aware of our current challenges and recommendations, including strict limitations and precautions on required protection and testing. We screen patients over the phone and in the office; our staff wears personal protective equipment at all times; our offices have infection response teams; our patients are asked to wear masks upon arrival to our offices and all patients/visitors/staff are screened upon entering our offices; we have enhanced cleaning schedules and separate sick and well spaces; we use telemedicine to help people stay home; we limit the number of visitors in our offices and promote social distancing.
A Message to Our CCP Family
In these challenging times, we are strong because of our team. Each of you has an unwavering commitment to our patients and to each other. We are honored to announce that CCP is recognized this year as a Top Workplace. While it may seem difficult to celebrate during this uncertain time, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge all the great work our teams have done and what we plan to do for our community moving forward. While the world has had to step back, our team has stepped up, implementing changes to continue to make a difference in the health of our patients. Each of you has played a role in the success of our company, in ordinary and these extraordinary times. No matter how far apart we are, we are one. Please join us in celebrating our Community Care Physicians family.
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. Community Care Physicians will provide access to updated information as it becomes available.
Albany Med is the desginated for the Capital Region Hub of the Regional Vaccine Network. The Regional Hub is working closely with local health departments across our eight counties of New York, as well as organizations like Community Care Physicians, to provide information, organize vaccination clinics, called PODs, and to recruit volunteers. For the most up-to-date information on vaccine in our region, visit their website: CapitalRegionVax.org.
January 4, 2021: New York State expands the list of people eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine to include all doctors, nurses and staff who come into contact with the public.
January 4, 2021: Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine yet? This New York State tool will tell you if you're eligible and where you can get vaccinated
December 29, 2020: New York State Announces Updated Quarantine Guidelines to Align with CDC Recommendations
Under the new guidelines, individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. After day 10 is reached, individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and if any develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare provider to report this change and determine if they should seek testing. Individuals should to continue strict adherence to all recommended safe behaviors to stop the spread - wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.
COVID-19 Travel Advisory
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced new guidelines allowing travelers to New York to “test out” of the mandatory 10-day quarantine. Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York are exempt from the travel advisory; however covered travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Essential worker provisions still apply. The guidance also applies to international travelers coming from any CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Health Notice country. The new protocol is effective Wednesday, November 4.
For any traveler to New York State from a noncontiguous state, US territory or CDC level 2 or level 3 country, the new guidelines for travelers to test-out of the mandatory 10-day quarantine are below:
- For travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours:
- Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
- The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
- On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
- For travelers who were out-of-state for less than 24 hours:
- The traveler does not need a test prior to their departure from the other state, and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York State.
- However, the traveler must fill out our traveler form upon entry into New York State, and take a COVID diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in New York.
Visit NYS Department of Health website to read more about the required quarantine, guidance for travel, and exemptions for essential workers (based on the duration of time in designated states, as well as the intended duration of time in New York.)
How to Wear Your Masks and Which Masks to Wear
VALVED MASKS -- The novel coronavirus brought a new definition of normal – which now includes wearing facemasks that cover your nose and mouth. We’ve seen some patients wearing a particular type of mask called a “valve mask” - like the ones pictured here. While we thank you for masking up and doing your part to stop the spread of this virus, please do not wear these masks. Here’s why. Valve masks have a one-way valve allowing exhaled air to pass through a small round or square filter attached to the front. They only filter air breathed in, not breathed out. So it may protect the wearer from some pathogens in the air, but it does nothing to protect the people around you. When exhaled air passes unfiltered into the environment, it takes your respiratory droplets with it, and this is how coronavirus spreads. Your breath, sneezes, coughs, respiratory droplets still spread. This valved mask defeats the purpose of the CDC’s universal masking guidelines – to prevent transmission from infected individuals (with or without symptoms) to people around them.
So, if you get your hands on an N95 with a valve and you think because N95s are the gold standard for protection it will protect those around you, it won’t. The N95 masks reserved for healthcare professionals’ use don’t contain this valve. We understand the valved masks are a little more comfortable for the wearer, but during this pandemic, a homemade cloth mask, bandana, or surgical mask is far superior. Please replace your valved mask with one of these options instead. Learn More.
There is a correct way to wear your mask. Make sure the mask covers your mouth AND nose, and follow these other masking guidelines.
COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing and Antibody Testing
Everyone is talking about COVID-19 testing and antibody testing. We understand it can be confusing. This grid from the CDC gives a good overview of the need to know facts. Remember, CCP offers both COVID-19 viral testing (nasal swab) and antibody testing (blood test) for patients. If you are interested in these tests, call your doctor.
Percentage Positive Results by Region
See where the Capital Region, NY stands. These metrics have been established based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State, and other public health experts.
Industries Reopening in NY by Phase
Businesses in each region of NY will re-open in phases. Re-opening refers to non-essential businesses and business activities. Essential businesses and business activities, like medical services at Community Care Physicians, that are open will remain open. Here is a breakdown by each phase.
Inflammatory Syndrome in Kids and Teens Related to COVID-19
Recent reports of children experiencing Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome symptoms tied to the COVID-19 pandemic are raising concerns among patients and physicians. Most children with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or exhibit only mild symptoms. However, you may have seen stories in the news over the last couple of days about several cases of children falling ill both in Europe and in the New York City area with what has been termed "Pediatrics Multi-System Inflammatory System Associated with COVID-19." Read more.
Governor Cuomo Announces New York Has Issued First-in-the-Nation Criteria to Healthcare Professionals Defining COVID-Related Inflammatory Illness in Children
We are monitoring this developing situation closely, staying in regular contact with our health organizations, and other experts. We’ll continue to update you as needed as this situation evolves. Please check back for additional updates. Visit the CDC or the NYS Department of Health for real-time updates on the confirmed cases in the US and in our local community in New York.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
- EVERYONE should:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or after you've been in a public place if you absolutely must be in public. If soap and water is readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Practice social distancing! Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home as much as possible, even if you're an essential worker. Put distance (at least 6') between yourself and other people. Remember, some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, but still social distance. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you don't feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to grocery store or to pick up other necessities. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. DO NOT use a facemask meant fo a healthcare worker (surgical mask and N95). Always continue to keep 6 feet between yourself and others. The face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
- Ask yourself if you really, truly need to leave your house.
- Cover your sneezes and coughs inside your elbow. Immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Learn more from the CDC
Check back for updates from the CDC, the NYS Department of Health, and other resources about Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Call the NYS Department of Health Hotline for Coronovirus 1-888-364-3065 or visit the Department of Health website
Highlighted COVID-19 Content
Guidance for Parents/Caregivers - Return to School for Children with Special Needs During COVID-19
Presentation from WebEx-Guidance for Parents and Caregivers on Return to School for Children with Special Needs
Q and A from Guidance for Parents on Return to School for Children with Special Needs
Mehta Minute - Pediatrician Dr. Beulah Mehta discusses COVID-19 (coronavirus)
COVID-19 and Communities of Color
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