What is Summit doing to care for patients at this time?

Summit Medical Group has put into action a COVID-19 phone triage and testing plan. For details, please click here to review the latest patient notification from CEO Ed Curtis.

 

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses were identified in 1950s and generally cause symptoms similar to most viral illness including the cold and flu (cough, fever, and/or body aches). This is very similar to most viral illnesses including flu and the common cold.

COVID-19 is a new coronavirus. Because this virus is new, testing has been limited; there are no vaccines and no medicines designed specifically to treat it.

 

Am I at risk for COVID-19?

Patients who may be at higher risk include older patients and those with chronic conditions such as lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.

 

What are the symptoms?

Fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and body aches.

We are seeing a significant number of patients with these symptoms due to cold, flu and allergy in East Tennessee. If you are feeling ill, it is still much more likely to be a cold or the flu rather than COVID-19. As with the flu, most people who get COVID-19 will only experience mild viral symptoms and will experience a complete recovery.

 

What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms? 

As your health care partner, your safety is our top priority.  If you are in severe respiratory distress, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room. You should not visit the emergency room for minor symptoms or to seek testing. You will have a long wait and expose yourself to other potential infections.

If you have a fever, cough, and other symptoms of respiratory infection, call your Summit Medical Group primary care physician. Our team can help direct you to the appropriate site of care based on your symptoms and medical history (such as recent international travel or exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19).  If you are directed to an office, urgent care, or emergency room, please immediately notify the staff of your possible illness upon arrival.

 

Can COVID-19 be treated?

Since it is a virus, COVID-19 cannot be treated with antibiotics. Mild infections are treated in the same way as the common cold or flu with over-the-counter medications to relieve the symptoms of cough, congestion, and fever.

 

Can I come in and be tested for COVID-19?

We are following CDC guidelines for evaluating and identifying symptomatic patients. Again, if you have a fever and cough, call your primary care office to determine next steps. The best course of action may be to stay home. If you do not have symptoms, you do not need to be tested.

The COVID-19 test isn’t simple, like the ones for flu or strep. The tests that detect COVID-19 can only be run at specialty labs and not at a hospital or physician office. Each test can take 4-6 hours to perform. At this time, testing is limited and is being reserved only for the highest-risk and sickest patients. Laboratories are actively working to expand testing capabilities. Our doctors will make all testing decisions based on protocols developed in partnership with public health officials.

ANY PATIENT WHO IS TESTED MUST SELF-QUARANTINE UNTIL THE TEST RESULTS ARE RECEIVED. IN THE CASE OF A POSITIVE TEST, THE REQUIRED QUARANTINE TIME IS 14 DAYS BASED ON CDC AND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REQUIREMENTS.

 

What should I do to avoid infection?

No vaccine is available at this time. It is believed the COVD-19 spreads via respiratory droplets such as from a cough or sneeze, so you should use the same prevention methods as you would to avoid a cold or the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home from school, work and social engagements when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.​

 

​​I have a regularly scheduled appointment with my doctor. Should I come? 

Regular wellness visits and appointments for chronic care treatment are important for your health and should not be avoided. Summit Medical Group is taking every precaution to protect our patients and staff from exposure to COVID-19, including isolating patients with symptoms to prevent exposures.

If you have a scheduled appointment and are having fever, cough and other symptoms of respiratory infection, call the office where you have an appointment to ensure you get care in the appropriate location. We will help direct you to the appropriate site of care based on your symptoms.

Telehealth appointments also are available for current and new patients. To learn more about this option for virtual video or phone appointment with a provider, click here or discuss directly with your physician's office.

 

Should I wear a mask to my doctor's appointment?

All patients and visitors are required to wear a mask when visiting any Summit Medical Group facility. To help conserve medical masks, please bring a mask from home to wear. Thank you for helping to protect the health and safety of our patients and employees.

 

Where can I get more information?

Don’t rely on secondhand information or social media for updates. Refer to reliable health information sites such as those listed below.

Tennessee Department of Health: Public hotline: 1-877-857-2945
Website: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

American Academy of Pediatrics:
Website: www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx


Click the links below for PDF files for COVID-19 information from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • - CDC COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions - PDF Document
  • - CDC What to do if you are infected with COVID-19 - PDF Document