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COVID – 19 Updates – April 23rd, 2020

Where are we at with COVID-19? A video message from Dr. Robin Trotman:

CoxHealth Expands Access to Virtual Care

CoxHealth is expanding virtual access to primary care and specialty providers, allowing many patients to be seen for a variety of health needs from the comfort of their homes.

The services are an expansion of CoxHealth’s current Virtual Visits, through which patients can be seen on-demand for minor illnesses and injuries. This new model of care allows patients to schedule a virtual appointment with specific providers, and is available in the majority of CoxHealth primary care and specialty clinics.

Some examples of how this new service can be utilized include:

  • Chronic disease management including for diabetes, hypertension, COPD, asthma, acid reflux and thyroid disease
  • Acute care, including back pain, allergies, URI, UTI, sore throat and gastroenteritis
  • Mental health, including depressions, ADHD, anxiety and PTSD
  • New patient visits for chronic and acute illness
  • A variety of wellness exams
  • Referrals to specialty providers

Patients are encouraged to call their doctor’s office to see if it’s possible to do their care virtually. Patients new to CoxHealth can call 269-INFO to be referred to a provider.

Reminder: Care is Still Available

In recent weeks, CoxHealth has made changes to prepare for a possible influx of patients with COVID-19. These adjustments have included reducing the number of people on campus to practice good social distancing, postponing elective surgeries to conserve personal protective equipment, and encouraging patients to utilize virtual care to keep them safe at home.

However, CoxHealth would like to remind the community that the health system is still ready to care for patients who are dealing with emergencies, chronic conditions and issues that should be treated quickly. Enhanced precautions are in place to promote a safe experience for those who visit clinics and care centers in person, and include increased sanitization of facilities and greater spacing of patients.

“We appreciate our friends and neighbors adapting so quickly to our changes to help prepare for patients with COVID-19,” says Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth. “It is equally important to us that people know that we are still prepared to serve them if they have other issues that come up that require immediate or ongoing care. Their health is still very important to us at this time as well.”

As a reminder, CoxHealth’s Emergency Departments are open 24/7, as is urgent care in The Turner Center. Other urgent cares in Springfield, Ozark, Monett, Branson and Lebanon are open daily, and patients may walk-in to be seen, or use Save My Spot to book a time in advance and wait at home. Appointments are also available at most clinics for management of chronic conditions, along with the implementation of virtual care at many clinics.

New COVID-19 Mobile Testing Unit in Monett

To help test a greater number of individuals for COVID-19, CoxHealth and Mercy Aurora/Cassville are collaborating on a mobile testing unit in Monett. The unit is slated to open on Friday, April 17.

Please note that the site, which will be housed at the First United Methodist Church in Monett, will only conduct tests with a referral from a health care provider.

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – including dry cough, shortness of breath, or a fever of 100.4 or greater – or those who have been exposed to COVID-19 can have a free evaluation for a referral from CoxHealth’s Virtual Visits with code COVID.

The new unit is being opened as a convenience to local patients, as most local testing so far has been conducted in Springfield.

In-House Testing for COVID-19

CoxHealth now has in-house testing available for COVID-19.  Due to limited test materials, tests will be prioritized based on clinical algorithms and testing requires a referral from a provider.  CoxHealth will continue utilizing outside laboratories for higher volume, lower risk outpatients.

Your Questions Answered

We’ve received some of the same questions from brokers and employers over the last few weeks, so we asked our physician leadership team to answer these questions for you:

Question: We’ve heard a lot about antibody testing in the news.  When will this be available in our area?

Answer: Our infection disease physician, Dr. Robin Trotman has advised there is no accurate antibody test available at this time.  Unfortunately there are many companies promoting and selling these antibody tests, but they are showing to be inaccurate.  Epidemiologists will be rolling this out in the future once validated, but there is no timeline available on this yet.

Question: We want to test all of our employees for COVID-19, but have been told we shouldn’t do this.  Why is mass testing not a good idea?

Answer: Mass COVID testing to the general public is not available due to lack of swabs and testing supplies.  Production is ramping up with the goal of being able to provide this type of test to the general population, there is just no known timeline yet.