To Our Dear Island Internal Medicine and La Conner Medical Center Patients, Your Families and Friends,
We hope everyone is bearing up well as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to involve Skagit County and involve more cases. We strongly advise every to stay at home and maintain physical distancing to limit the spread of this deadly virus. We know this is hard and it may go on for at least several more weeks. Through this remember that we are here for you. Our clinics have continued to provide care to you and our community through TeleMedicine (“TeleVisits”) using your smartphone or computer, with select office visits offered for issues that require an in-person evaluation. We have had to make these changes for your safety given the infectiousness of this virus. We hope to answer some of your most common questions below:
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
In general avoiding contact with others prevents infections. If you do have symptoms, then isolation at home is advised for at least 7 days following symptom onset OR until 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms get better, whichever is longer. If you do not have symptoms but were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should quarantine by staying at home, avoiding public places, and monitor your health for 14 days following the last day you were exposed to the ill person. If you do develop symptoms, they are usually mild symptoms in which case you should stay home and away from other people. If you develop symptoms that cannot be managed at home or you are at high-risk for complications (age 60 years or over, are pregnant or have other medical conditions), call us and we can advise you. Isolation and quarantine are the same thing in practice, and just refer to whether you already have the infection or not. We do not want any of you to become infected, and you don't have to be. If you already have become infected you don't have to spread it to the community and those you love.
What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus?
Symptoms include fever, cough, low energy, and shortness of breath. Loss of smell, nausea and vomiting also can occur in many. These overlap with typical cold and flu symptoms. You should stay at home during recovery, unless you are experiencing more severe symptoms. Rest, fluids, and Tylenol are the first line recommended treatment. Call if you have symptoms and we can arrange a TeleVisit to evaluate your risk.
Can I be tested for the Coronavirus?
Testing is limited and needs to be reserved for those at the highest risk. Over-testing can also distract health care providers from taking care of the most ill patients, and waste essential personal protective equipment that will be needed later.
How can I protect myself?
The virus enters your body through your nose or mouth after touching contaminated surfaces, then touching your face, or from airborne droplets from someone coughing or sneezing within 6 feet of you. It’s that simple - it gets in through your mouth and nose, or even innocently rubbing your eyes with your hands. People who are infected but have not yet developed symptoms can also spread the virus, so you can get it from someone who feels perfectly well today. But it has to enter your body, and that is where you are in control: Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Why should I self-isolate if I feel fine?
Many people are carriers without knowing or showing symptoms. Avoiding physical contact with others will help slow the spread and prevent a sudden increase in cases needing medical attention at the same time. This will keep the hospital from being too busy if you need or loved ones need to go there. This may be hard to do, so...
Set boundaries! Don't go to parties, gatherings, or meetings, don't roam stores, and don't invite people to your home. There are services that can shop for you and deliver to your home - use them (you may be supporting people who have been laid off due to the crisis) - or call ahead with your order and use curbside pickup. It is OK to say no to all social gatherings - no one should take offense at this point - it is not personal. It is just what we have to do to keep from getting or spreading the virus. It is the new normal for at least the next few months. And although we may do just fine with an infection, those to whom we pass the illness may not.
What can I do at home?
It's time to work that list of things you’ve put off - learn a musical instrument, plant that garden, write that book, build that craft project! What have you put off because you were too busy doing other things?! Sit down now and make a list, hang it on your fridge, and let it percolate. You’ll come out richer and more fulfilled if you put your mind to it.
How else can I help?
If you have non-latex gloves, masks, or other medical equipment at home, please consider donating to Island Hospital. See their website for a complete list. Consider donating blood if you are healthy. Consider donating financially to Island Hospital crisis relief services if you are able.
What about my regular appointments?
Schedule a TeleVisit! Click the link to learn more. You need to continue to take care of your health to keep you from having other medical problems come up. Call our office and our team of staff will patiently walk you through each step until you see your provider’s smiling face. One way or the other, we can stay in touch to meet your needs!
We will get through this - together.
Dr. Charles Kotal
Dr. Helen Young
Dr. Kelly Reed
Dr. Bryan Murray
Caitlin Desch, PA-C
Heather Gutierrez, PA-C
Island Internal Medicine
Physical & Mailing Address:
912 32nd Street, Suite A, Anacortes, WA 98221
La Conner Medical Center
528 Myrtle Street, La Conner, WA 98257
PO Box 1620, La Conner, WA 98257
*What to do is you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease. (PDF)
*What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (PDF)
*What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus disease and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (PDF)
Medicare & COVID-19(PDF)
Reporter Nicole Ellis speaks with a mental health expert about ways to cope with anxiety, stress, and adjusting to how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing our everyday lives. (Click Here)
*Helpful COVID-19 Links*
For inquiries about your bill, please call Evans Medical Consultants at:
**Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates**
We have a 72 hour refill policy. Please call your pharmacy when you need a refill and they will send us a refill request.
*Learn More about our exciting new program for
Monday - Friday
8:00a - 5:00p
Phones Closed for Lunch: 12:00p-1:30p
Some providers may offer early appointments once a week
We're closed some holidays, you can find that list of closed holidays here
Call Us: 360.293.4343
Island Internal Medicine
La Conner Medical Center