Covid 19: Our Services and Helpful Tips
Dr. Siri Akal
We hope you and your family are well during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to update you on the care we are giving at Red Hook Family Practice PC. Our foremost goal is for your safety and well being at this time. With that in mind we continue to offer TELEMEDICINE visits as our primary means of providing care. This will protect the health of patients and staff by decreasing exposure in our waiting area and hallways. TELEMEDICINE visits can be done using a telephone or video-chat and will allow for discussion with your provider about any medical concerns. It also allows for prescription renewals, lab and test results review. We continue to offer limited in-person visits for non-respiratory conditions such as lacerations, abscesses requiring drainage and other conditions. These are assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is important that you call the office BEFORE any visit to discuss the best way to meet your needs.
Most TELEMEDICINE visits are covered by insurance and many are waiving co-pays if the visit is related to COVID-19. There is a discounted fee for self-pay patients.
As COVID-19 cases are now present in the USVI, we understand you may have questions about your health and how to access care. Please find steps below on how to reach us and the latest recommendations related to COVID-19.
Please phone if:
You are sick with symptoms resembling a cold or flu. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.
You have had contact with a known positive COVID-19 person or have traveled from an area where COVID-19 has occurred AND you have any of the above symptoms.
You would like to set up an appointment for any other reason. Please note that we are postponing physical exams and well child checks at this time.
The majority of testing in the USVI is being done by the VI Department of Health (VIDOH). Red Hook Family Practice has a LIMITED number of tests for the virus. Both are following the CDC guidelines and criteria to determine who should be tested. We understand the urgency of some patients to get tested. It’s important to understand that the results often will not change the management of the disease. The majority of people who have the disease will have mild symptoms and will be able to be cared for at home. High risk individuals include people over 65 years old, with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, people who are immunocompromised, and people living in nursing homes. These people should take extra precautions to avoid the virus and should immediately call the clinic with COVID-19 symptoms.
These symptoms are direct from the CDC website: “Symptoms that require emergency care include: difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure to chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face”.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with people that are sick
Stay at home when you are sick
Follow VI Government State of Emergency and Stay-at-home Executive Orders (link below)
We recognize that this is a stressful time with constant news on the COVID-19 pandemic 24 hours a day. Consider decreasing the amount of news you are watching and checking in with family and friends to ask about their physical health and how they are handling the social distancing and loss of regular activities. It is important to talk with your children about the pandemic as well. Check in frequently, use age appropriate words and be reassuring about their safety.
We appreciate your flexibility and patience during this global health crisis. Please call us at 340-775-2303 or post general questions here. (Please do not post personal medical information.)
Please do not hesitate to call with any questions or concerns. We will continue be available to meet your health care needs.
The Red Hook Family Practice Medical Staff
Helpful links for additional information:
Virgin Islands Department of Health https://doh.vi.gov/covid19usvi
Official Site of The Virgin Islands Government https://www.vi.gov/
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
World Health Organization https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/