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Important Updates about the Coronavirus


Please check back here regularly for updates. We continue to follow rapidly evolving CDC guidelines to keep our patients and the community safe and minimize exposure. Please note that information is quickly changing so refer to the most recent posts.

Covid-19 and Children

May 13, 2020

We’re still learning about the coronavirus and the impact on children. Far fewer cases of the virus have been reported in children, and it seems to usually cause a milder infection in them than in adults and older people. But some kids have developed more serious symptoms.

Many parents wonder what to do if their child gets sick. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus can cause:

Some kids are having symptoms caused by inflammation throughout the body, sometimes several weeks after they were infected with the virus. Research is currently underway to learn more about this condition.

Symptoms of this inflammatory condition may include:

What Should I Do if My Child Has Symptoms?

If your child has any of the symptoms:

Call 911 if your child is struggling to breathe, is too out of breath to talk or walk, or turns blue or has fainted.

How Can I Keep My Family Safe if My Child Has Symptoms?
How Do Doctors Test People for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Testing for COVID-19 is changing. Doctors, hospitals, commercial labs, local health departments, and the U.S. Public Health Service are working together to help get tests to the people who need them.

To test someone for coronavirus, doctors put a long Q-tip into the nose (called a nasal swab) and send it to a lab. If the person coughs up mucus, doctors might send that for testing too. Some areas offer drive-thru testing, which lets people stay in their car during the test.

If you think your child has symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor or local health department. They will give you the most up-to-date information on testing.

How Is Coronavirus (COVID-19) Treated?

Doctors and researchers are working on medicines and a vaccine for coronavirus. Most people with the illness, including children, get better with rest, fluids, and fever-reducing medicine. Some people with more severe symptoms need treatment in the hospital.

What Else Should I Know?

Keep doing these things to keep your family healthy:

Source: Adapted from kidshealth.org with input from Starling Pediatrician Dr. Noelle Leong.

Updates on Care Delivery

May 4, 2020

As Connecticut prepares to reopen, Starling remains focused on providing the highest quality care in the safest manner.

We continue to have numerous safety measures in place to keep our patients and staff safe. This includes the following.

Our coronavirus hotline is available 7 days a week from 8:30am-4:30pm. Call 860-368-2271.

Please note that our lab hours and locations have recently been updated. Visit https://www.starlingphysicians.com/lab/ for details.

Thank you to our wonderful patients who continue to share their gratitude during this time. To hear what our patients have to share, please visit: https://www.starlingphysicians.com/hereforyou/.

Please stay safe and know we are here for you.

New Symptoms Associated with COVID-19

April 27, 2020

For weeks, the CDC has shared that fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing have been symptoms of COVID-19. Now they have added additional symptoms which include:

  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

 

Face Coverings/Masks Now Required

April 20, 2020

In accordance with state guidelines, starting April 20, all patients in Starling offices must  wear a face covering or mask when coming to see a doctor or walking around our facilities. Below is a helpful video on ensuring a good fit and how to put masks on and off.

Health experts offer some ways to make sure your mask actually works. Medically-approved masks, such as the N-95, should be reserved for health care workers on the front lines.
 
 

Update on Labs Stations and Hours

March 30, 2020

Effective March 31, we will temporarily close our lab draw stations in Bloomfield, Glastonbury, Plainville, and Southington until further notice. We will continue to operate our draw stations in Newington, Wethersfield, Enfield, and New Britain (Lake St. and 300 Kensington) but hours may change.

Please click here for a letter from our lab management >

Click here for our current lab hours and locations >

Loss of Smell and Taste

March 28, 2020

Loss of smell and taste is now added to the list of symptoms that may indicate someone is harboring the coronavirus – even you experience no other or minor symptoms. If you experience this symptom, it important to stay-at-home to prevent the spread of the disease and you should let your doctor know.

Click here for for an article on this topic.

Helpful advice for daily living during coronavirus

March 27, 2020

This is an extremely challenging time.  We have created a new web page designed to help people manage stress by providing useful tips to help with everyday living. We include updates on how to clean your home, grocery shop, and ideas for stocking your pantry. 

Click here to visit our new page >

Hear the Latest Updates

March 26, 2020

Starling’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Posner, talks with WTIC1080 about the latest coronavirus news including symptoms, testing, research, and when to stay home >

Beware of Covid-19 Scams

March 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, the services are unapproved and illegitimate.

Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.These scammers use the coronavirus pandemic to benefit themselves, and beneficiaries face potential harms. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill Federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft. If Medicare or Medicaid denies the claim for an unapproved test, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost.

Protect youself:

  • Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers.
  • Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
  • Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites.
  • A physician or other trusted healthcare provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for COVID-19 testing.
  • If you suspect COVID-19 fraud, contact National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (866) 720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov

Report any scams to: National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (866) 720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov

Update on Our Pediatrics Department Hours & Locations

March 23, 2020

  • We ARE seeing well newborns up to 4 month olds in our Plainville office
  • We ARE seeing limited sick visits in our New Britain office
  • We currently are NOT seeing patients in Newington
  • All of our providers are practicing telemedicine  
  • Vernon will no longer offer morning walk-in sick hour; they are seeing infants for well-visits; limited sick visits; offering daily telemedicine video visits
Please check the office/website for daily changes to this schedule 

 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

March 21, 2020

We know that there are a lot of questions and concerns about how to handle the coronavirus. Please be aware that our call volume has dramatically increased. Before calling our office or on-call service, please review the advice below:

 

Now Offering Telemedicine Visits

March 20, 2020

We remain focused on the health and safety of our patients, staff, and the community. Our providers are now offering Telemedicine visits and providing health consultations by phone or by telehealth/video. We are rescheduling routine office visits or conducting these visits by videoconference or phone. Most specialties and services are available in select locations to care for patients with chronic health issues or urgent health needs.  

Important Changes in Our Delivery of Care

March 19, 2020

As the coronavirus and its effect continue to evolve and impact our state, we remain focused on the health and safety of our patients, staff, and the community.

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March 17, 2020

Below are some common questions that people have about the coronavirus and answers from the CDC. Please keep in mind that this information is rapidly evolving and we will inform you of ongoing updates.

Questions & Answers

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”). Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home

Current CDC guidelines are made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements: The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough. The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart. Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.
uarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure.
In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.
At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when the weather becomes warmer.
Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website.

There is information for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19 available online.

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness including older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should: take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others; when you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick; limit close contact and wash your hands often; and avoid crowds, cruise travel, and non-essential travel. If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.
Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever1, cough, and difficulty breathing.

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips of face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.
Using the CDC-developed diagnostic test, a negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the person’s sample. In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected For COVID-19, a negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms likely means that the COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness.
Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.
Other Important Information
Emergency Warning Signs

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Stay home except to get medical care

Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as home isolation

If you or someone in your home is sick

Call ahead If you have a medical appointment, call your doctor’s office or emergency department, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help navigate your care over the phone.

Wear a facemask if you are sick
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Clean your hands often
Clean and disinfect

Routinely clean high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom.

High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

Monitor your symptoms
How to discontinue home isolation

In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department. The decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.

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New Procedures to Maximize Your Safety

March 16, 2020

Please note the new procedures below. We also have signs on our entry door alerting patients of these procedures.

Required Pre-Visit Check-In:

For the safety of our patients and staff, pre-visit check-ins are now mandatory prior to being seen. If you have an appointment, you are now required to check-in for your appointment before coming to the office.

 We offer two ways to complete this check-in:

If one of these steps is not completed, you will not be able to be seen by your provider and will be asked to return to your car to complete the mandatory pre-visit check-in process. No walk-in visits will be allowed at this time.

One Guest Per Visit:

We encourage patients to come alone or limit guests to one. This will be part of our ongoing effort to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus by limiting the number of people that come to the offices. We request that patients sit apart from one another in waiting rooms.

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Please know that we are here for you!  Visit www.starlingphysicians.com/coronavirus for frequent updates based on CDC guidelines.

As the number of coronavirus cases has increased in the United States, we want to let you know that we are actively preparing to deliver care to the community and to our patients who may be affected.

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Preparing for Coronavirus in Connecticut

March 12, 2020

We have been actively preparing to treat patients who may have coronavirus symptoms, while keeping our patient population safe.

Preparations Underway at Starling:

• Stocking up on the necessary protective equipment
• Monitoring the CDC’s communications
• Working with the medical community including our hospital affiliates, to try to keep care coordinated
• Developing procedures and protocols on where to direct people based on symptoms and risk factors

When to Contact Us / Seek Care:

When to Stay Home:

Measures to Stay Safe:

Know the Symptoms:

Coronaviruses cause respiratory illnesses, ranging from common cold symptoms to pneumonia. The virus can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. 

The elderly, those with cardiac or lung disease, and diabetics are especially at risk of more severe disease.

Where to Find More Information:

To read more about preventing the spread of COVID-19, click here.

If you are planning any travel outside of the U.S., click here for the CDC’s Travelers’ Health webpage for the latest travel and health notices.

Information adapted from the CDC. To read more on the CDC website, click here.

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What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

 

March 5, 2020

General background: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, and they are common sources of infection in humans, generally causing mild disease such as the common cold. This particular variant is new in humans and this novel strain has been named SARS-CoV-2 (not the same as the prior “SARS”). The disease itself is called COVID-19.

Coronaviruses also cause disease in multiple other species. Sometimes these animal viruses can spread to humans, which is currently thought to be the case with this outbreak. MERS and SARS were examples of this. 

Method of transmission: The Coronavirus is thought to be spread mainly by person-to-person transmission, which is understood at this time to be by close proximity (6ft or less) and/ or by droplet transmission from coughing or sneezing. It is also possible that one can become infected by touching surfaces or objects containing the virus and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or eyes.

It is currently thought that people are most contagious while symptomatic, but there are reports of persons likely spreading the disease prior to significant symptoms, as well. Certain viruses are spread more easily than others. It is currently thought that the Coronavirus spreads fairly easily, meaning more easily than influenza, although not as easily as highly contagious viruses such as measles. It can sustainably spread in the community. 

Quarantine: This is recommended for cases of Coronavirus. Strict guidelines about release from quarantine have not yet been determined. At a minimum, the following criteria should be met: 

Current recommendations for post-exposure quarantine is two weeks, which is thought to be the incubation period for this disease based on other coronaviruses. 

Symptoms: Illness can vary significantly from nonspecific or mild symptoms to severe illness or death. Some patients have had no symptoms. The mortality rate is not known because the number of cases (the denominator in any calculation) isn’t accurately known. The range is from tenths of a percent up to 2%. 

Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure and usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Severe cases can progress to severe pneumonia, respiratory failure, and septic shock with mortality. It is not currently understood which segment of the population is at higher risk for severe manifestations. 

Treatment: At this point, treatment is purely supportive. There are no currently available vaccines or antivirals for this virus. Clinical trials are underway. 

Specific Recommendations at Our Starling facilities:

Notify us if you are at risk: If you believe you are at risk, have been exposed, or have coronavirus symptoms including cough, fever, or shortness of breath, please contact your provider or let our front desk know when you arrive.

Triage:

Disinfection: Rooms will be carefully wiped with standard disinfectants after visits.

Use of masks: Providers will wear masks with any suspected infection and practice good hand/ contact/ droplet hygiene. Patients with suspicion for Coronavirus or flu will be given a mask, if available, upon entering the clinical space. 

Testing for coronavirus: Labs in Connecticut are now fully capable of conducting diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

Click here to know if you are at risk and safety measures you can take.

Click here to learn more about the coronavirus and CDC updates.