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Answers to the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19

Doctors from the Program Health Plus Clinic have prepared answers for you to the most frequently asked questions relating to the current pandemic of the new coronavirus. If you do not find an answer here to a specific question, or you have any particular worries, please contact our reception, call service or your personal doctor at Program Health Plus. We are here for you and your health.

What are the potential symptoms of infection with COVID-19?
-    Especially fever, dry cough and impaired breathing. Also shivers, general fatigue, headache and muscle pain. It may also be accompanied by a sore throat and runny nose (colds), as well as loss of appetite and smell, and diarrhoea.

What should I do if I have any of the above symptoms?
-    Stay at home in self-isolation and contact us by telephone to consult on how to proceed. You will probably be ordered to self-isolate at home and provided with sick leave (in case of necessity). Your doctor will decide on whether to indicate testing for the presence of Covid-19 (the indication criterion is usually the presence of at least one of the following symptoms: temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius, dry cough, breathlessness).
-    The above symptoms are relatively non-specific, especially if the course is mild. They may be caused also by other illnesses (regular cold, allergies etc.). With regard to the fact that the course of Covid-19 illness is usually mild and is usually treated symptomatically at home, it is possible that your doctor will advise you to wait for a few days to see how your clinical condition progresses (or improves), during which testing will not be necessary. In all cases it is necessary to monitor your clinical condition at home, optimally measuring your temperature 2x per day.
-    It is necessary to remain in contact with your doctor or with your family, especially in the case of persons living alone and with limited independence. In the event of a sudden deterioration in their condition, these persons might need assistance to call for help in timely manner.

How does testing for Covid-19 take place?
-    If your doctor indicates the performance of a PCR test, he or she will compile and send you an electronic requisition, without the need for you to visit the clinic, and recommend a suitable testing unit. You must travel to this location in your own vehicle, wearing a face mask, accompanied by maximally 1 person. Do not travel by public transport under any circumstances. At the testing centre identify yourself only by means of your health insurance card and personal documents (e.g. passport). A nasopharyngeal swab will then be taken. Some testing centres enable “drive-in” tests performed directly from your car, some operate only upon a prior appointment on a specific day and time, others without appointment. The results are usually available with 2-5 days.

What should I do if I am unable to transport myself to the testing centre – I do not have a car at my disposal or my condition of health is so serious that I am unable to travel unaided?
-    Again, consult your doctor, especially with regard to your condition of health. In certain indicated cases your doctor may be able to ensure testing directly in your place of residence.
-    If your doctor assesses your condition of health as serious, he or she will arrange transport and an examination in a local healthcare facility.

What should I do in the case of a sudden deterioration of my condition, e.g. over the weekend etc.?
-    In the case of suspicion or confirmation of infection with Covid-19, it is essential to ensure regular monitoring of your condition. This applies especially in the case of respiratory difficulties, intensive dry cough and high fever. If your doctor is not available, contact the Call Service of Program H Plus. In case of emergency situation call telephone number 155 or 112 (communication in foreign languages is also available here).

My doctor has not indicated a PCR test for the presence of Covid-19, but I would nevertheless like to be tested.
-    Some testing centres offer the option of testing for “self-paying clients” (for the price of approximately 2500 to 2900 CZK). Despite the fact that maximal hygiene measures are in place, it is necessary also to consider the possibility of increasing the risk of infection at testing centres. For this reason you are strongly advised to consider very seriously the necessity of testing in non-indicated cases!

What are “rapid tests” and what are their benefits?
-    PCR tests (nasopharyngeal swabs) directly demonstrate the presence of the virus. If they are performed correctly, they are reliable from the beginning of the disease. “Rapid tests” demonstrate the presence of antibodies acting against the virus. Antibodies appear at the earliest 3-10 (and up to 14) days after the onset of symptoms. In patients without symptoms or in patients with minimal clinical manifestations they may appear after an even longer time. The “reliability” of the tests is stated at approximately 85-90%. At present it is recommended that these tests are performed especially on patients at the end of the “preventive” 14-day quarantine period (for example after returning from abroad or after close contact with a person who has tested positive). It is certainly possible to indicate these tests also in other cases, e.g. for patients who have already had symptoms similar to Covid-19 disease. Tests should be performed in particular by primary care doctors and will most likely be free of charge. However, at present there is not a sufficient quantity in distribution. For further information please therefore contact your doctor.

Will the services provided by Program Health Plus be limited during the time of the pandemic?
- It is the aim of Program Health Plus to provide the best possible services under all circumstances. Even in the present situation we do not expect any limitation of the healthcare we provide.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

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