We know there is nothing more important to you than you and your family’s health. It is important to us too. That’s why as a leading provider of health care in our communities, Legacy is continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and taking extra steps within our clinics to help ensure the health and safety of our community, patients and staff.
Some of these extra steps include temporary measures such as:
- Screening all patients and staff for symptoms at the entrance of each clinic
- Sending all patients and staff with symptoms to a testing location
- Requiring staff and all patients and visitors 10 years of age and older to wear face masks or cloth face coverings within the clinics and exam rooms. If a patient or visitor does not have a mask or cloth face covering, a cloth face covering will be provided to them. If a patient or visitor is unwilling to wear one, they will be offered a virtual or a car visit, depending on the nature of their visit.
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting of clinics
- Requesting patients to limit the number of guests they bring with them to the clinic
- Providing virtual or car visits for certain patients – Click to learn about Pediatric Telehealth services.
Thank you for helping us to protect the health and safety of our patients and staff. Remember to check back regularly for updates. You may also visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website or Harris Health for additional information.
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So far, the Novel Coronavirus, which was first seen in Wuhan, China in December 2019, appears to be milder than SARS or MERS. MERS killed about a third (33%) of those infected, while SARS resulted in the deaths of about one-tenth (10%) of those infected. The mortality rate from the Novel Coronavirus is hanging steady at roughly 3% of those infected, however – patients who have died were over 60 years old, had other comorbidities, and weren’t admitted to a hospital until their illness was already at an advanced stage. For comparison, the CDC estimates that the current percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza is 6.9%. The situation is not dire or cause for a panic. There is no vaccine for this new strain of virus, but the symptoms are not thought to be deadly if treated early.
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is believed people are most contagious when they are the sickest.
Some spread may be possible before people have symptoms and by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes, but these are not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Should I be worried about my family or me contracting COVID-19?
While the situation is evolving, if you are not in an area where the coronavirus is spreading, have not traveled to or from one of those areas or been on a cruise, or have not been in close contact with someone who has or may have the virus, you are currently at low risk for contracting the virus. Older people and people with severe underlying health conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease and diabetes), seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to lower the chance of spreading and contracting the virus are:
- Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth with tissues when you cough and sneeze, then throw used tissues in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- If possible, stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms (symptoms listed below).
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, especially with respiratory disease symptoms.
- Avoid travel to areas of high risk. You can view the CDC’s latest advisory list map here.
If you have questions about coronavirus, visit the CDC’s Novel Coronavirus 2020 website or contact your health care provider. You may also visit Harris Health.
The CDC recommends the following if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:
- Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 should stay home, except for getting medical care.
- Avoid public areas.
- Avoid public transportation and ride sharing.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
- Follow the steps above (What can you do to lower the chances of getting COVID-19) to prevent the spread.
A test kit has been developed for COVID-19. Legacy Community Health is following public health guidelines include looking at a patient’s symptoms, travel history and potential exposure, to determine which patients should be tested.
Who should be tested for COVID-19?
Diagnostic testing is being provided to patients based on guidance provided by the CDC, which includes the evaluation of the presence of symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), travel history, contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, local risk of the disease, and should rule out other potential causes of illness. Legacy is closely following guidance from the CDC and will update this criteria as needed. For details on the CDC’s testing criteria, click here.
Legacy accepts most HMOs/PPOs, Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare. The cash price of a COVID-19 diagnostic test is $80 for self-pay patients (without HMO/PPO, Medicare, Medicaid and/or CHIP coverage). Some patients may be eligible for a sliding scale fee that would reduce the $80 cash price.
If a patient is confirmed to have COVID-19, their symptoms and health are evaluated to determine if they should be hospitalized or self-quarantined at home.
As the Houston economy begins to reopen and more and more of our favorite businesses and public spaces welcome us back, there are ways that we can support them without putting ourselves or our friends and neighbors at risk.
Masks and Facial Coverings: It is still suggested that you wear a mask and/or facial covering if you are in public, with certain exemptions (such as if you are exercising, eating or drinking, or if you are socially distanced from others while outdoors).
Masks remain important for public health because some people may be carrying the virus and not know it. This is called being asymptomatic. It means that you have the virus, but you do not have any symptoms. If you are asymptomatic, you are still contagious.
Masks are not necessarily meant to protect you from other people (unless you are wearing an N95 mask), but to protect other people from you. Again – you could be asymptomatic and not know it. The way that masks work is that they catch the tiny droplets that come from your nose and mouth while you breathe, talk, cough, and sneeze. Those droplets can carry the virus and spread it to others. If everyone wears a mask, the virus can remain contained.
We understand that this time of social distancing, mask wearing, and abundant caution has many people stressed and anxious.
However, the world will not go back to normal without the cooperation of our communities to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The better we are all able to continue abiding by CDC guidelines, the quicker and more efficiently we can return to a safe way to go about our daily lives.
With the economy reopening, there are ways to safely attend your appointments, run your errands, and even enjoy a night out while also maintaining social distance and awareness of your health. If you are planning to visit the doctor’s office, get a haircut, go grocery shopping, or any number of other public activities that we have all so sorely missed these last few months, please remember the following:
- Wear a mask or facial covering.
- Keep your distance from others, especially if you are indoors.
- If you are using communal equipment, like at the gym for example, sanitize your hands and the equipment before and after use.
- Always be sure to wash your produce before consumption.
- On a bus or metro train, use your elbow rather than your hand to grip the bar if you are standing.