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Covid-19 FAQ’s with Dr. Michael Gamble

From the Greene County General Hospital:

In light of our community’s increase in positive COVID-19 cases, Dr. Michael Gamble, GCGH’s Chief Medical Officer, created a list, with answers, of COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions. The answers to these questions may help our community navigate the difficulties of coronavirus exposure. 

Dr. Gamble is a board-certified Family Medicine and Emergency Medical Services physician who has practiced in the GCGH Emergency Department for over 15 years.  He is a Fellow of the Academy of Emergency Medical Services (FAEMS) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (FAFFP).  He is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Auburn University School of Business and a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and Phi Beta Kappa.  He received a Rural Training Certificate from Union Hospital where he completed Family Medicine Residency and an Obstetrics Fellowship.  He received a Certificate of Knowledge in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers’ Health (CTropMed®).  He is also an Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. 

More information and the full list of COVID-19 FAQs, readers can visit the GCGH’s COVID-19 Information webpage. The page is continuously updated: https://greenecountyhospital.com/covid-19-information/

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

A: You should consider testing for COVID-19 if you have symptoms of the virus (fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, or loss of taste or smell) without another explanation. If you get tested, you definitely need to stay home and self-isolate while the results are pending. If the test is negative, you still may need to self-isolate if there is no other explanation for your symptoms.

2. Q: I’m not symptomatic but someone at my church was positive. Should I be tested?

A: If you feel you were in close contact you can consider testing. You definitely should monitor for symptoms. If you are deemed a close contact (within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more, or you provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, or you had direct physical contact with the person [hugged or kissed them], or you shared eating or drinking utensils, or they sneezed, coughed or got respiratory droplets on you) you may need to quarantine for 14 days observing for symptoms even if you have a negative test.

3. Q: What should I do if I don’t have symptoms but a family member tested positive for COVID-19 and we were around him?

A: If you were in close contact (within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more, or you provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, or you had directed physical contact with the person [hugged or kissed them], or you shared eating or drinking utensils, or they sneezed, coughed or got respiratory droplets on you) you should self-quarantine at home and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

4. Q: How do I know if I need to be seen? I’m not feeling too bad but I do have some of the COVID-19 symptoms.

A: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days plus at least 24 hours with improved symptoms and no fever. You should consider testing which can be done at My Linton Clinic (812-847-4481) with a clinician’s order or at the Indiana State Department of Health’s Optum site (LHI.care/covidtesting or call 1-888-634-1116) without an order but with an appointment. If you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face you should seek emergency care.

5. Q: I’m asymptomatic but I want to be tested. What should I do?

A: You can arrange testing at the ISDH Optum site (LHI.care/covidtesting or 888-634-1116). If you get tested, you should stay home until you receive your test results.

6. Q: Do we give rapid COVID-19 tests?

A: Routine COVID-19 testing is a PCR test sent to Labcore or Optum laboratories. These are not considered “rapid.” If you need a test because you have symptoms, you need to self-isolate at home at least until the test is back and for the recommended 10 days minimum plus 24 hours of improved symptoms without fever. If you need a test for a close contact exposure, you need to quarantine at home for 14 days from the last contact to monitor for symptoms. A rapid test result will not change those recommendations.

7. Q: Do I have to go into the clinic to be tested? A: My Linton Clinic (812-847-4481) swabbing is currently done outside in the car as a drive up test. You may need an in-person or online virtual visit to get the test ordered by a clinician. You may also arrange testing without a clinician order through the Indiana State Department of Health’s Optum site (LHI.care/covidtesting or by calling 888-634-1116).

8. Q: How long does it take for the results to come back?

A: The turnaround time is based on the lab and demand. Currently results come back in about 2-4 days.

9. Q: If I don’t have any symptoms, why do I have to be tested?

A: There may not be a good reason to get tested if you do not have symptoms. Everyone should take precautions to social distance (stay more than 6 feet apart from others), wear a mask or face covering, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, face, and nose, and stay home if you are sick or don’t feel well.

10. Q: If my coworker sitting beside me at work was positive, will I get sick?

A: It is possible to get sick if you have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. There is an increased risk if you are a close contact (within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more, or you provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, or you had directed physical contact with the person [hugged or kissed them], or you shared eating or drinking utensils, or they sneezed, coughed or got respiratory droplets on you). If you are deemed a close contact, you should quarantine at home away from others to monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the last contact.

11. Q: If I get tested, when can I go back to work?

A: If you get tested, you should stay home until the test results is back. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 without an alternative diagnosis, you should stay home for a minimum of 10 days plus 24 hours with improved symptoms and no fever. Someone with symptoms of COVID-19 should NOT go back to work even if they have a negative test.

12. Q: Where can I get a rapid test?

A: The standard PCR test can be obtained at My Linton Clinic (812-847-4481) or the Indiana State Department of Health Optum site (LHI.care/covidtesting or 888-634-1116). There is very limited availability for rapid PCR testing which is reserved for special situations such as emergency surgery. The newer antigen tests are not as accurate and not currently in use here yet, but are sometimes called “rapid.”

13. Q: How long is the wait to get a test at the clinics?

A: My Linton Clinic testing site is open 7 days a week in conjunction with the Convenient Care Clinic hours. You may obtain a test here with a clinician’s order.

14. Q: Do I have to have an appointment to be seen in My Linton Clinic’s Convenient Care?

A: You do not need an appointment, but we request you call ahead to receive instructions about how to be seen based on your symptoms. We might do a walk in visit, a car visit, or a telehealth computer visit.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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