COVID-19 Vaccination, Testing, and Information
COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can cause a variety of symptoms in human beings ranging from mild to fatal. This virus is currently considered a pandemic and has spread rapidly throughout the world, including Virginia and Charlottesville. Symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection may be respiratory like a cold (runny nose, cough, sore throat, low grade fever, loss of taste or smell) or gastrointestinal like a stomach flu (particularly diarrhea). Adults over the age of 60 years and those with underlying illnesses are at greater risk for more severe disease. The typical onset between exposure and symptoms averages 5 days (the range is from 2-14 days), and the typical onset between exposure and severe illness is about 11 days. COVID-19 spreads easily and rapidly between people via respiratory droplets, even from those who don’t yet have symptoms or those who never develop any symptoms. Because asymptomatic people can spread the virus to others quickly and efficiently it is critical to practice social distancing and masking to reduce the chances of spreading the virus.
We encourage all eligible patients to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If you have a history of an allergic reaction to any vaccine, or a chemical called polyethylene glycol (the ingredient in Miralax), you should consult with Dr. Hargrove or your allergist before consenting to be vaccinated.
The Blue Ridge Health Department is currently administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible members of the community. We do not anticipate receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to administer to patients of Ivy Family Medicine due to the size of our practice and logistics involved.
At the present time, the only option for the general public to receive a COVID vaccine is through the clinic run by the Blue Ridge Health Department (click on the link to be taken to their web page). You will be asked to fill out a survey with your age, health information and contact information. You must fill out this survey to be eligible for vaccination. Once you have filled out the survey, the health department will contact you with the next steps needed. Please sign up to be added to the Blue Ridge Health Department email list by clicking here.
Both UVA and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospitals have made arrangements to immunize eligible employees. The Blue Ridge Health Department is also providing immunizations to staff and residents of long term care facilities.
What About Testing?
Ivy Family Medicine offers rapid antigen testing, which is resulted within 15 minutes, and PCR testing, which is typically resulted in 16-36 hours. The decision about whether to test, and which test is appropriate will be made by Dr. Hargrove based on relevant information. Rapid antigen testing is currently free to patients of Ivy Family Medicine. PCR testing costs $100 per test, and may or may not be covered by insurance.
The antigen test is most helpful to identify the presence of active infection and a positive test is sufficient for a diagnosis of COVID. If the antigen test is negative and symptoms or exposure history are concerning for COVID, Dr. Hargrove will perform a PCR test.
Antigen/PCR testing is also available at multiple other sites in Charlottesville:
- The Blue Ridge Health Department offers free testing in and around Charlottesville, Albemarle, Nelson, Louisa, Fluvanna and Green
- UVA Riverside Clinic if you have symptoms that may be caused by COVID 19. Results from the Riverside Clinic are typically available within 48 hours.
- MedExpress on 29 North. Results from MedExpress can take 5-12 days to come back.
- CVS on 29N/Rio Road and Walgreens are also offering PCR testing for patients who qualify.
- The Virginia Department of Health also runs testing events outside of our health district.
Symptoms and Symptom Management
- If you develop any concerning symptoms it is critical that you isolate yourself from others immediately, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
- Please contact the office as soon as you learn of a potential exposure or develop concerning symptoms so that we can arrange for appropriate testing.
- The Virginia Department of Health has a very useful website to help you understand if your symptoms are concerning for COVID-19.
- The Virginia Department of Health also has a very useful general overview here.
- If your symptoms are mild please DO NOT go to the Emergency Room for testing. There is a several day window during which tests can be reliably obtained via our office, an urgent care, the health department or a local pharmacy.
- If your symptoms progress and you develop breathing difficulty, severe abdominal pain or dehydration it is important you get in touch with us immediately, or call 911 if you do not feel safe remaining at home.
Stay At Home and Wear Masks
The single most important thing you can to do protect yourself and our community from the spread of COVID is to STAY HOME whenever possible, WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN and to WEAR MASKS THAT COVER YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH when ever you are in public places. As of 8/1/20, it is mandatory to wear face coverings in both indoor and outdoor public settings where it is not possible to manage the minimum social distance of 6 feet.
It is safest for yourself and our community to simply wear masks when you are in public, regardless of the circumstance.
Reliable Sources of Information
There are many brilliant people actively working to address the current pandemic. It is critical that you get information from reliable sources. I recommend:
The CDC website
The Red Cross