COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update
Updated May 1, 2020
Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests.
1) A viral test tells you if you have a current infection
2) An antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection. An antibody test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks to make antibodies after symptoms occur. We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last.
WHO SHOULD BE TESTED
To learn if you have a current infection, viral tests are used. But not everyone needs this test at this time. There is a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, or, at least two of these symptoms: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.----------Seek medical attention if you have these warning signs: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face.
Most people will have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care and may not need to be tested.
CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are made by state and local/external health departments or healthcare providers. As New York begins to open up, everyone will be encouraged to be tested. This will enable contact tracing and targeted treatment. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first. You can also visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
If you test positive for COVID-19 by a viral test, know what protective steps to take if you are sick or caring for someone.
If you test negative for COVID-19 by a viral test, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing. If you test positive or negative for COVID-19, no matter the type of test, you still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.
Serological tests for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) are intended for individuals who may have had COVID-19 symptoms but are no longer symptomatic. The tests determine the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and can help to identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. Understanding if an individual has developed the antibodies and a potential immune response can be useful in the determination of important decisions such as the ability for hospital staff to care for patients. The priority is for the testing of frontline workers.
Serological tests analyze serum in blood samples from individuals who are being evaluated or have been exposed to the virus. There are three major classes of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (IgG, IgA, and IgM).
A positive serologic result indicates that an individual has likely produced an immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A negative serologic result indicates that an individual has not developed detectable antibodies at the time of testing. Confirmation of infection with SARS-CoV-2 must be made through a combination of clinical evaluation and other applicable tests.
Most tests have not been reviewed by the FDA, but are being offered by many groups in accordance with the public health emergency guidance issued by the FDA on March 16, 2020 with the understanding the FDA has not reviewed or authorized serological tests, but, under the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for diagnostic tests, the FDA provided early access to serological testing by laboratories and providers to assist in determining the validation of the tests. It does not apply to home testing. The FDA has approved four (4) EUA’s for serological tests with more to follow. Results can help inform who may qualify to donate blood that can be used to manufacture convalescent plasma.
*Note: Beginning Monday, April 27, 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Antibody, IgG test is broadly available for ordering nationwide. Serology testing is not intended as a diagnostic test for patients who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Serology testing should be used only for patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 or had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and have been confirmed by a physician to have recovered. It may also be used in instances when an individual thinks they might have had COVID-19 in the past and needs confirmation. In either case, the serology test is only for people who are no longer experiencing symptoms.
“The New York City Health Department has sent an alert to all medical providers advising NOT to use anti-body tests to diagnose prior COVID-19 infection nor to assess immunity due to the high rate of false/positives and uncertainty about how immunity works.”(4/22/20).
The world health community continues to monitor closely the emergence of the "coronavirus disease 2019" (COVID-19). At this time, no one knows how severe the global outbreak will be or the total economic impact as the world takes steps to contain the spread of COVID-19. As outlined by Governor Cuomo's New York State on PAUSE 10 point policy has been extended to May 15. The Governor has issued an Executive Order mandating the wearing of a face covering while in public, effective April 17 at 8 pm. Any face cloth covering fashioned from household items will suffice. It strengthens the CDC recommendation for face coverings to be worn by people when they are out and about where the 6’ of separation may be compromised. In addition,
Stay home when you are experiencing fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds(singing a verse of "Happy Birthday."
Cover your mouth with tissues whenever you sneeze, and discard used tissues in the trash.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
Clean frequently touched surfaces.
Use cleaning sprays and wipes to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as telephones and keyboards.
Do not associate with others if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends persons with COVID-19 symptoms who were directed to self-isolate may discontinue isolation under the following conditions: At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) without the use of fever-reducing medications; and, improvement in respiratory symptoms; and, at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Medications, like Tylenol, may temporarily reduce a Coronavirus fever, but it will return within 24 hours. So, don’t think it’s over.
PROACT the Trust’s Prescription Benefit Manager, has instituted a COVID-19 hotline at (866) 287-9885 for any concerns regarding resupplies of pharmaceuticals you receive from them.
CANARX provides Brand Name maintenance drugs where there is a 90-day supply of medication. If you have a prescription with CanaRx, you will receive a phone call. They have begun to reach out, in advance, to patients coming due for refills and are willing to issue refills up to 30-days early for patients concerned about possible supply shortages.
If you have a scheduled office visit with your provider and would rather not physically go out to the office, contact your provider regarding an on-line meeting. If they can provide a Skype or Face Time meeting, have them pre-certify the reason for the meeting through the Trust Compliance office at: (844) KTF-Fund (583-3863). Approved on-line telemedicine office visits will be treated the same as a physical office visit.
No copays or cost-shares for COVID-19 testing. We’re waiving copays and cost-shares for COVID-19 testing. Only a health care provider or hospital can administer the test and send the sample to an approved lab for results.
No copays or cost-shares for COVID-19 diagnostic offices visits. We’re waiving out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing-related visits with in-network providers, whether at a provider’s office, urgent care center, emergency room or via virtual care, through May 15, 2020.