Where can I find more information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
- Updates from the Whatcom County Health Department can be found here.
- If you have general questions about COVID-19, you can call the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Information call center at 800-525-0127, then press #.
- What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [PDF]
- What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [PDF] [Spanish]
- What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 [PDF]
- Tips for preventing illness can be found here. [PDF] [Spanish] [Russian] [Punjabi]
- If you are self-quarantined or have been tested for COVID-19, click here for information about obtaining prescriptions and groceries and what to do about appointments.
Can I get tested to determine whether or not I have Coronavirus?
Unity Care NW is following Whatcom County Health Department testing recommendations. Because of the limited supplies available to do testing, COVID-19 tests are being prioritized for those at high-risk and experiencing flu-like symptoms. For those we are able to test, tests are only available to Unity Care NW patients. It is possible that, even if you are experiencing mild illness, you will not be tested. If you are not tested, health care providers will focus on managing your symptoms.
The “screening” Unity Care NW is currently conducting at the entrances to our health centers is not testing. Rather, we are checking patients for fevers and/or other symptoms of illness to help us manage their visit to the health center and ensure the safety of staff and other patients.
Where can I find information about Unity Care NW COVID-19 procedures and programs and community resources?
For information about program cancellations, changes to check-in procedures, and getting services, click here. You can also find information about self-care, community resources, and financial assistance.
What is a Coronavirus?
There are many different strains of coronavirus. The common cold is a type of coronavirus. Some types can cause mild illness, while previous strains, such as the one that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, are more serious.
What’s the concern about this Coronavirus?
This is a “novel” coronavirus, meaning that it’s a strain not previously seen. Much of the concern about this strain is that it’s so new that we’re still learning how it works. We still don’t know exactly how easily it spreads from person to person, how long it takes before exposure to illness, how long infections last, and how likely it is that symptoms will become severe.
So far, it appears that it is spreading fairly rapidly, with new cases in Washington State and countries around the world. There does appear to be an increased possibility of serious illness, including death, among those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions. Of those cases that have been diagnosed, the death rate appears to be approximately 2 percent.
What should I do if I think I may have Coronavirus?
If you have a fever AND a cough, please call ahead of time at (360) 676-6177 before coming to our offices. That way, we can make sure that we take precautions to protect staff and other patients and respond appropriately to your symptoms. Any patients with a cough will be asked to wear a mask to protect others.
If you are experiencing severe shortness of breath or symptoms of a severe illness or injury of any nature, call 911.
Our After Hours Nurse Line is (800) 607-5501. If you are uninsured or have insurance coverage through Community Health Plan of Washington, you can call the Community Health Plan of Washington’s Nurse Advice Line at (866) 418-1002.
What can I do to prevent getting sick?
You can do the same things you always do during cold and flu season:
- Wash your hands regularly with warm soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, particularly before eating or touching your face
- Cover your cough and sneeze
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
- Drink plenty of liquids, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of sleep for a stronger immune system
- If you’re sick, stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible
How do I know if I have a Cold, the Flu, or Coronavirus?
From what we know so far, symptoms of Coronavirus can range from mild to severe. Reports suggest, however, that more severe cases of coronavirus begin like the Flu — symptoms tend to come on quickly.
If you are sick with Flu-like symptoms but don’t feel sick enough to seek medical attention…
- Stay home.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take fever-reducing, pain-relieving medication as needed and directed.
- Cover your cough and sneezes.
- Continue to wash your hands.
- Stay away from others as much as possible.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces regularly or ask someone in your household to do this.
For more recommendations, click here.