Face Covering Required at NHFM

In light of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-34 lifting COVID-19 restrictions on businesses across the state, NHFM would like to reinforce the importance of masking and other safety measures.

A mask/face covering is still required by everyone entering a North Hills Family Medicine office, even if a person is vaccinated.

While we continue to be encouraged by declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, along with increasing the amount of those that are vaccinated, we cannot ease up now.  We must continue to follow the evidence-based practices that have kept Texans safe over the past year.  With new COVID-19 variants quickly spreading across our communities, masking up, social distancing, and practicing hand hygiene is all the more important to protect each other, help stop the spread and reduce transmission of these mutations.

Thank you for understanding, and for doing your part in protecting our patients, families, and employees.

Continue Reading Face Covering Required at NHFM


VACCINE APPOINTMENTS ARE CURRENTLY AT CAPACITY!  There is no waiting list at this time.  Please check with the local health department to find other providers offering COVID-19 nearby.  Feel free to check our website frequently if we are allocated more vaccines we will update everyone here!!


NHFM-NRH location is now offering Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.  We are serving phases 1a & 1b ONLY!

If you are an existing patient please make sure you are registered for the patient portal.  SUBMIT YOUR REQUEST VIA THE PORTAL.


If you are not an existing patient;

  1. Please create & register on the patient portal
  2. Choose Moderna Vaccine as Provider
  3. Schedule a time for vaccination
  4. Send a composed message with your insurance information to staff

You will be required to show proof of your essential role.  Please bring a work badge with you to your appointment.


COVID-19 Vaccines are Coming! Find Out When You Will Qualify

As the COVID-19 vaccines begin to be distributed, Texas has made guidelines of who will be vaccinated first and the projected timeline.  Currently, vaccines are in short supply, but as time passes, more and more will be widely available.

Vaccine allocations are decided by federal and state agencies. We will be receiving our first shipment of the Moderna vaccine and begin vaccinating frontline workers. The initial supplies will be very limited as companies need to supply multiple hospitals, health systems and other organizations who will be vaccinating people. We are in regular contact with those agencies and will be ready as the situation unfolds and more supplies are available.

Frontline healthcare workers are being prioritized by federal and state agencies to receive the vaccine. The most vulnerable patients will be vaccinated next, like those at skilled nursing facilities and those with certain high-risk health conditions.

Determine which of the following categories you fall in to help estimate when you will be vaccinated.

Who’s getting the vaccine first?
Front-line healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities are the first Texans to receive the vaccine, starting December. They are considered Phase 1A.

Phase 1A: Health Care Workers Definition

First Tier

  • Paid and unpaid workers in hospital settings working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19. Such as but not limited to:
    • Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
    • Additional clinical staff providing supporting laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic and/or rehabilitation services
    • Others having direct contact with patients or infectious materials
  • Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents. Includes:
    • Direct care providers at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and state supported living centers
    • Physicians, nurses, personal care assistants, custodial, food service staff.
  • EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport
  • Home health care workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients
  • Residents of long-term care facilities

Second Tier

  • Staff in outpatient care settings who interact with symptomatic patients. Such as but not limited to:
    • Physicians, nurses, and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
    • Clinical staff providing diagnostic, laboratory, and/or rehabilitation services
    • Non 9-1-1 transport for routine care
    • Healthcare workers in corrections and detention facilities
  • Direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics
  • Community pharmacy staff who may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or testing for individuals who may have COVID
  • Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in administration of COVID testing and vaccinations
  • Last responders who provide mortuary or death services to decedents with COVID-19. Includes:
    • Embalmers and funeral home workers who have direct contact with decedents
    • Medical examiners and other medical certifiers who have direct contact with decedents
  • School nurses who provide health care to students and teachers

Who’s getting the vaccine next and when?
Phase 1B vaccine recipients will likely be able to get the vaccine starting in January 2021. These include people 65 years of age and older, and people over age 16 with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at greater risk.

Phase 1B Vaccine Priorities:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
    • Solid organ transplantation
    • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

When can everyone else get the vaccine?
Spring 2021 is the best estimate, but that may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Vaccines are Coming! Find Out When You Will Qualify

COVID-19 Antibody Testing is Now Available

COVID-19 antibody testing is now available. We are currently use the Catalyst Health Network drive-thru testing sites.

The test is done through a blood sample. You will simply drive up to the testing site at your appointment time and remain in your car. A healthcare team member will be with you to draw your blood. We ask that you remain in your car for 5 minutes before driving off to ensure no lightheadedness. Please come well-hydrated and be sitting on the appropriate side of the car with your preferred arm at the window. You do not need to be fasting for this.

The antibody testing detects the presence of the virus and identifies patients who have been exposed to or recovered from COVID-19. The antibody test is different from the molecular COVID-19 test, which is done with a nasal swab to check for the presence of the COVID-19 virus. After infection with COVID-19, the virus antigen stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that can be detected in the blood. Antibodies are produced by the immune system after a minimum 10 days of infection and remain positive after the infection. This is why the antibody test can be used to detect a past infection with COVID-19.

Below you will find some answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

How to get tested?

In order to document medical necessity, you will need to undergo a virtual telemedicine visit with one of our providers before the test can be ordered. Once this visit is completed, if you qualify for testing, we will arrange a time and location for you to get your blood drawn and one of our testing sites through Catalyst Health Network.

Who should get tested?

  • If you had symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms), and want to know whether it was COVID-19 (but should be at least 7 days from onset of symptoms).
  • If you are asymptomatic, but may have potentially been exposed (close or proximate contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19)
  • Individuals subject to precautionary or mandatory quarantine
  • Individuals employed as a health care worker, first responder, or essential workers who directly interacts with the public
  • Individuals present with a case where facts and circumstances warrant testing as determined by clinician or health officials
  • If you tested Positive for COVID-19 via Nasal Swab PCR – and want to see if you have produced antibodies that can be detected

Who should not take the test?

Those who are actively having symptoms should not be getting an antibody test done, rather a PCR nasal swab should be done.

If you have had symptoms, please wait at least 7-10 days to take the antibody test, counting from the START of your symptoms. Sensitivity is higher 16-29 days onwards. Antibodies take time to develop – taking the test too early may not give accurate results.

Why should I get tested for COVID-19 antibodies?

Patients who are tested and have the antibodies can use this information in a variety of ways. The risk of getting COVID-19 a second time is suspected to be very low. Individuals who are elderly or have underlying health conditions will benefit from understanding their risk so they can make informed decisions about how much isolation or socialization to resume. The COVID-19 antibody test will also provide important data on the scale of coronavirus infections in our community.

DISCLAIMER: The scientific understanding regarding antibody test interpretation needs further research. Recommendations rely on presumptions made based on experience with similar coronaviruses

What should I do if I have missed or am late for my appointment?

Missed or late arrival will result in forfeiting your appointment. It is important to us that you get the testing that your PCP has recommended! Call the Catalyst Hotline at (214) 964-0319 to let our team know that you have missed or are late to your appointment so we can place you back in queue to be rescheduled according to testing site availability.

What is antibody testing, and how does it differ from diagnostic testing used for COVID-19?

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 involves looking to see whether an active virus is present. This uses a testing process to detect genetic material from the virus in samples swabbed from the very back of the nasal cavity. This testing is based on a common molecular testing technique: polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

By contrast, antibody testing (also called serology testing) is done with blood samples, because you’re looking for evidence of the body’s immune response to the virus.

After your body is exposed to a foreign pathogen, your white blood cells start to learn about it and make antibodies to neutralize it. So, when an antibody test comes back positive for this coronavirus, it means 1) you were exposed to COVID-19 at some point in the past and 2) your immune system was robust enough to launch an antibody-forming immune response.

What antibodies are tested?

IgM and IgG are tested.

When infected by a virus like COVID-19, the body initially produces antibodies known as IgM (immunoglobulin-M), in an attempt to neutralize the virus. Later, as the body’s adaptive immune system revs up, IgM levels go down, and the body ramps up production of IgG, which more specifically targets the viral invader. IgG ideally is what shows us immunity.

How soon after symptoms can antibodies be detected?

Antibodies can be detected as soon as 7 days after symptom onset. After 7 days, antibodies begin to increase. By day 10-12 after symptom onset, antibodies can be detected in up to 80% of patients and by days 16-29 after symptom onset, antibodies can be detected in all patients.

However, you must note that every person is different. Certain conditions can affect people’s ability to make antibodies, such as: malnourishment, having cancer or another chronic health condition, or taking immune suppressing drugs.

How is the antibody testing done?

The COVID-19 antibody test is a simple blood draw. We then send the sample to our lab and will have results in an average of 1-3 days.

What do Negative antibody test results mean?
A negative antibody test can mean one of these possibilities:
1. You were never exposed
2. Your body has not produced enough antibodies to be detected
3. Your body needs more time to produce antibodies after exposure
4. False negatives – testing limitations.
*Note that some studies show that up to 1/3 of people have low-titers or even absent antibodies after recovering from COVID.

We recommend for you to still wear a mask when in public places, wash your hands on a regular basis and continue to practice social distancing

Please discuss the results with your healthcare provider to discuss your risks and if you are contagious to others.

What do Positive antibody test results mean?

The short answer is we don’t know.

Patients with positive antibody results presumably have been exposed and would be considered low risk for becoming infected.

However, it may mean someone has full immunity or partial immunity or no immunity at all. Some antibodies decrease over time, so you might be immune for six months to a year, and then maybe not at all later on. Or, it might mean where if you get it once, you’re most likely immune the rest of your life. There’s just no way to give definitive answers right now.

A positive antibody test does not mean that you are symptoms free and not able to shed the virus. Please consult your healthcare provider when assessing the results of the antibody test.

We recommend for you to still wear a mask when in public places, wash your hands on a regular basis and continue to practice social distancing

Why is it important for people not to assume they’re immune if they test positive for COVID-19 antibodies?

There’s a big difference between telling someone they have immunity versus that they may have immunity. That’s a really important distinction to make. Because if someone says that they’re definitely going to give me a million dollars, I may go out and buy a new house. But if they tell me they may give me a million dollars, I probably won’t, because it’s not a promise. It’s only potential.

With this virus, we just don’t know the answer yet. We can only advise patients that they may have immunity if the antibody test is positive. So, even if you were to test positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, we recommend for you to still wear a mask when in public places, wash your hands on a regular basis and continue to practice social distancing.

What restrictions/downfall does antibody testing have?

Antibody results:

  • are not diagnostic-meaning they cannot be used to diagnose an active infection or tell when a person is no longer contagious.
  • do not rule out infection or viral shedding.
  • are not a guarantee that you will not get COVID-19.

The antibody testing has not been FDA approved, however the FDA has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Continue Reading COVID-19 Antibody Testing is Now Available


The CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

In light of this new evidence, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. At North Hills Family Medicine, it is now required that all patients must wear a mask while visiting the clinic.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. The CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

Cloth face coverings should—

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Tutorials can be found here for making a mask at home.


Protecting Your Mental Health

Maintaining your mental health during isolation and social distancing can be challenging. This is even more important when we are out of our normal routine and lack connection with our social network. The tips and resources below are designed to support you during this time.


Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation.

People may feel anxiety, worry, or fear related to:

  • Your own health status
  • The health status of others whom you may have exposed to the disease
  • The resentment that your friends and family may feel if they need to go into quarantine as a result of contact with you
  • The experience of monitoring yourself, or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of the disease
  • Time taken off from work and the potential loss of income and job security
  • The challenges of securing things you need, such as groceries and personal care items
  • Concern about being able to effectively care for children or others in your care
  • Uncertainty or frustration about how long you will need to remain in this situation, and uncertainty about the future
  • Loneliness associated with feeling cut off from the world and from loved ones
  • Stigmatization: If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you may feel stigmatized by others who fear they will contract the illness if they interact with you.
  • Anger if you think you were exposed to the disease because of others’ negligence
  • Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to work or engage in regular day-to-day activities
  • Uncertainty or ambivalence about the situation
  • A desire to use alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping too little or too much
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive distressing memories, flashbacks (reliving the event), nightmares, changes in thoughts and mood, and being easily startled

If you or a loved one experience any of these reactions for 2 to 4 weeks or more, contact your health care provider


Those with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans and monitor for any new symptoms. If you notice any changes, contact your healthcare provider right away.  You may inquire about televisits (virtual visits) to help avoid exposures.


  • UNDERSTAND THE RISK: Consider the real risk of harm to yourself and others around you. The public perception of risk during a situation is often inaccurate. Media coverage may create the impression that people are in immediate danger when really the risk for infection may be very low. Take steps to get the facts:
    • Stay up to date on what is happening, while limiting your media exposure. Avoid watching or listening to news reports 24/7 since this tends to increase anxiety and worry. Remember that children are especially affected by what they hear and see on television.
    • Look to credible sources for information on the infectious disease outbreak
    • Accentuate the positives: Focus on what you are able to do during this time. You’re finally home — organize, read, rest, cook, and play. Take advantage of the time this provides.
    • Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those. Wash your hands.  Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news (Do you really need to know what is happening on a cruise ship you aren’t on?).
    • Create a schedule in order to encourage yourself to stay both mentally and physically active. This will also provide you with something to look forward to!
    • When bored, be careful to manage alcohol consumption, vaping, and overeating – these are habits that can be hard to break.
    • Connecting with others about your concerns and how you’re feeling will allow those feelings to surface and will provide you with a sounding board for them. Facebook groups have already formed to facilitate communication and support among individuals asked to quarantine.
    • Practice anxiety management breathing techniques, such as 4-7-8 breathing
      • To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise
      • Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breath in
      • Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7
      • Breath out completely as you count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
      • Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm
    • Use social media to stay connected to other people (If you see posts that are causing stress, take a break by turning it off)
    • Call or facetime your friends as opposed to only texting – this allows you to open up more with the other person and feel connected
    • For those who find it therapeutic, turn to your Bible, prayer, or religion
    • If you feel yourself in a panicked state or anxiety spiking, stop immediately and USE ALL FIVE SENSES.
      • LOOK around and focus on one thing in the room
      • Tune in to one NOISE
      • Allow one SMELL to fill your nose
      • Smack your tongue and notice any residue TASTE
      • FEEL your feet on the floor
      • Repeat


  • Create a dedicated workspace that’s clean and free of distractions
  • Set an alarm like a normal workday
  • Get ready like you are going to leave the house
    • Get dressed
    • Brush or fix your hair
    • For those who wear it, do your make up – even if minimal
    • Eat breakfast
    • Brush your teeth
  • Do your best to adhere to a working schedule
    • Set an alarm to remind you to take breaks
    • Consider using an app like Time Out to remind you to take a breather
    • Don’t forget to eat lunch and/or healthy snacks during your breaks
  • Maintain a work connection.
    • Maintain a connection to the office by choosing to make calls rather than sending emails, and keep in contact with your department members via video conferencing.
  • When family or children are at home with you
    • Set expectations of your workspace being “off-limits” to limit interruptions
    • During your breaks, spend extra quality time with those in your home

Additional Resources

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Crisis Text Line Anxious about coronavirus? Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.
  • Time Out: This downloadable application reminds you throughout the day to take a breather
  • TalkSpace: Visit Talkspace.com or download the Android or iPhone app.  This is a paid service.
  • BetterHelp: Visit Betterhelp.com.  This is a paid service.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Continue Reading Protecting Your Mental Health

NHFM is Now Offering Virtual Visits

As concerns grow over community-spread COVID-19, North Hills Family Medicine is now offering virtual visits with the hope of keeping sick patients at home and reducing exposures in the office. A virtual visit is an appointment with your provider during which live video is used. All aspects and quality of the visit are similar to an in-person visit, except you don’t have to commute to the clinic.

Your first virtual visit (telehealth visit) might feel intimidating, but it shouldn’t worry you one bit.  With some preparation, you can be sure to have a great first visit and finish the session satisfied, and not feeling like the technology was at all a hindrance to connecting with your provider.

The platform that we use is Zoom, one of the industry leading providers for secure, efficient video conferencing that allows us to provide HIPAA compliant, secure visits. Virtual visits are never recorded and are encrypted to ensure privacy.

Here are some tips to make your virtual visit a success.

  1. Choose an appropriate setting and technology

What you will need:

      • Either a laptop with a camera or a smart phone with a camera.
      • Internet connection/wireless connection
      • Private area

Plan ahead to make sure that you have a private setting for the entire duration of the appointment.  Most individuals have the appointment in their home or apartment, but on occasion, some individuals need to leave their home, go out to their vehicle or to a nearby park.  If you are going to be at work, you might want to schedule the appointment during your lunch break so that you can step away easily.

  1. Installing Zoom on your device.

You must have Zoom downloaded on your device, but you do not need to create a Zoom account.  Zoom usually downloads automatically when you click the meeting link that is emailed to you when your appointment is made., but you can install Zoom before the appointment on your device here: https://zoom.us/support/download

Zoom is available to be installed on a laptop, iPhone or Android device.

  1. Checking your internet speed

Having fast, reliable internet is integral to the visit.  If your bandwidth/speed is slow, the video will lay and cut out causing a frustrating experience.  For some people in poor cellular coverage areas, this means getting on a wifi network.  If you live in a city, and have good cellular signal strength, you can most likely use your cell service, but keep in mind that if you use your cellular network, the data transferred will add to your monthly limit.

To help you decide which network to use, go here to check your wifi speed. Greater than 10 mb/s on download and upload is recommended. If you are getting less than 10 mb/s, consider changing your network. If you are not getting internet speed greater than 1 mb/sec, you will not have a good experience and we recommend postponing the appointment until you can find faster internet.

  1. Testing Zoom

Now that you have made sure you have a reliable internet connection and download/upload speed, you should test your device to make sure the setting are correct to work properly with zoom.  The easiest way to do this is to joint a test meeting at: https://zoom.us/test

You will want to make sure you:

      • Give your computer/device permission to use the camera and audio.
      • Can see yourself in the app. If you see your name, or an icon, then your camera is not working properly.
      • Do not have an external speaker or headphones that will automatically connect unexpectedly.
      • Consider using the ‘Test my Audio’ feature within Zoom: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362283-Testing-Computer-or-Device-Audio?mobile_site=true It will have you speak into the microphone, and then it will replay the sound back to you.
  1. Video Tips

If your provider can’t see you well, it will make it more difficult for him/her to pick up on certain non-verbal cues. By ensuring we can see you, we will be able to understand you better, leaving you more satisfied that you delivered your point to us. In addition, insurance requires that we can see you, otherwise it is not considered a telehealth (virtual) session and is not covered by insurance.

      • Try to maximize front-facing lighting, and minimize lighting behind you.
      • Try to have most of your upper torso visible, from about your abdomen and up including your arms.
      • If using a phone, prop it up to make it more steady. A stable image would be very much appreciated by your provider, and will help you take your mind off having to hold your phone.
  1. Logging into your Appointment

When your appointment was scheduled an email was sent to your email address provided that contains the Meeting ID.  You will simply click the link and it will take you to the appointment.  You may join ahead of your appointment time and will wait for the provider to join the virtual visit.

If you have not joined the meeting by your appointment time, the provider or a nurse may call you directly asking you to join in.

If you have any problems joining or did not receive the email, please contact the office.

If for any reason the provider is concerned that additional testing is needing (i.e.: Flu test, Strep test, COVID-19 testing) we will instruct you to drive to the clinic and we will have a nurse with appropriate protective gear meet you at your car to conduct testing.

Please call the office today to schedule your appointment.

Continue Reading NHFM is Now Offering Virtual Visits

Social Distancing

To slow the spread of COVID-19 through U.S. communities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged Americans to practice “social distancing” measures. But what is social distancing, and how is it practiced?

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming in close contact with healthy people in order to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. It can include large-scale measures like canceling group events or closing public spaces, as well as individual decisions such as avoiding crowds.

With COVID-19, the goal of social distancing right now is to slow down the outbreak in order to reduce the chance of infection among high-risk populations and to reduce the burden on health care systems and workers.

Why Is the CDC Recommending It?

According to the CDC, coronavirus is spread mainly through person-to-person contact. It’s believed that people who are in close contact (within 6 feet of one another) are most likely to spread it. It spreads through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of anyone nearby and may be inhaled into the lungs, which can spread the disease.

And while it’s believed that people who are the sickest are most likely to spread coronavirus, some people might spread it before they begin to show symptoms. That’s why it may be important to practice social distancing even with people who don’t appear ill.

It may also be possible to contract COVID-19 through contaminated surfaces or objects. An individual who touches a surface that has the virus on it and then touches their own mouth or nose, for example, may contract the virus.

The CDC believes COVID-19 spreads easily throughout communities. So they have recommended social distancing as a way to help stop the spread.

If individuals reduce their contact with one another, people will be less likely to pass the virus on. This can be the best way to prevent what they refer to as “community spread.”

While the CDC isn’t recommending everyone take drastic measures like isolating themselves, they are advising people to take precautions, especially those who may be at a higher risk for contracting the disease.

Flattening the Curve

You may have seen references in the news or on social media to “flattening the curve” as a goal of social distancing. When new cases spike very quickly, hospitals and other medical facilities can be overwhelmed and unable to adequately treat everyone—including patients who are not actually dealing with the coronavirus. Such spikes are more likely when social distancing measures are not enacted quickly and early enough.

By slowing the number of new cases and stretching them out over a longer period of time—or “flattening the curve” of new cases—we can keep the number of total cases (and the number of high-risk cases) below that threshold, so that our hospitals have enough space and resources to operate as smoothly as possible during this difficult time.

How do I practice social distancing?

The CDC defines social distancing as it applies to COVID-19 as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”

It’s particularly important—and perhaps obvious—to maintain that same 6-foot distance from anyone who is demonstrating signs of illness, including coughing, sneezing, or fever.

Along with physical distance, proper hand-washing is important for protecting not only yourself but others around you—because the virus can be spread even without symptoms.

The most obvious way to practice social distancing is to avoid crowded public places where close contact with others may occur. These might include movie theaters, religious gatherings, and crowded restaurants. Of course, it’s not always easy to practice social distancing.

Tips and Tricks 

  • Opt for online meetings rather than workplace gatherings whenever possible.
  • Work from home if you can.
  • Postpone major social gatherings.
  • Consider video-chatting with friends and family rather than meeting in public places.
  • Limit or postpone air travel and cruise ship travel.
  • Stock up on vital items so you don’t have to go to stores as often.
  • Order groceries from a delivery service.
  • Shop online rather than in stores.
  • Stay home if you are sick

On the broader scale, a number of actions taken in recent days are designed to encourage social distancing, including:

  • Schools, colleges, and universities suspending in-person classes and converting to remote online instruction
  • Cities canceling events, including sporting events, festivals, and parades
  • Workplaces encouraging or mandating flexible work options, including telecommuting
  • Organizations and businesses canceling large gatherings, including conferences
  • Houses of worship suspending services
  • Public and private libraries modifying their operations and restricting people from gathering by allowing people to come in only to pick up materials that have been reserved or requested on-line or by telephone
Continue Reading Social Distancing

What to do if you think you may have COVID-19

COVID-19 symptoms most commonly experienced include: fevers, cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Developing body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion or diarrhea is also possible. In some cases people who are infected will not exhibit any symptoms, though most people experience a mild form of the disease, similar to a cold or flu virus. Certain groups of people may experience more serious illness, including older people (over the age of 65) and those with a history of medical conditions such as decreased immunity, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease or diabetes.

The current strain, known as COVID-19, is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • 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. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

If you have any of the above symptoms and can answer yes to one or both of the following questions, then we ask that you stay at home and call the office to speak to a nurse before presenting to the office.

  1. Have you been in contact with anyone who either has been diagnosed with Coronavirus/COVID-19 and/or someone who is under investigation for having Coronavirus/COVID-19?
  2. Have you recently traveled to any of the following areas in the last 2 weeks?
    1. China
    2. Iran
    3. Italy
    4. Japan
    5. South Korea

Once we have established your risks, we will contact the Health Department, that will then contact you to arrange for testing.

In the meantime, if you suspect you may have COVID-19, we ask that you do the following:

  • Stay at home. You might consider leaving home in order to seek medical care if your symptoms are severe, otherwise it is important to remain at home. Call before seeking medical care in a clinic or healthcare facility; the staff will be able to give you information on where to go upon arrival to prevent exposing other people to the illness.
  • Isolate yourself. Staying in a room away from other people in your home is an important way to decrease the risk of your family or friends getting exposed to the virus. Use a bathroom that is separate from everyone else in the home if one is available. Is it also recommended to stay away from any pets that live with you. Although there is no known transmission between companion animals (such as dogs or cats) at this time, it is advisable not to be in close proximity to your pets until more is understood about the virus. You should discuss with your healthcare provider when it is okay to be out in public again.
  • Wear a face mask. If you have symptoms suspicious of COVID-19, wear a face mask to prevent spread of the illness both at home and if you go to a medical facility for care. People that live at home with you should also wear a face mask if they are in the same room as you. Gloves can also be used for additional protection from the virus.
  • Follow the same precautions as with any other virus. This includes washing your hands frequently, disinfecting hard surfaces (table tops, door knobs, keyboards, for example), covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and avoiding sharing cups or utensils while sick.

If your symptoms progress in severity, go to the ER, but call ahead to let them know you are coming and may have COVID-19 so that appropriate precautions can be followed.

If you have further questions/concerns, please visit/call the following:

Tarrant County Public Health

CDC-Center for Disease Control

  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

WHO – World Health Organization

  • https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

Catalyst Health Network

Continue Reading What to do if you think you may have COVID-19

How to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Although there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 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 who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze either with a tissue or by coughing/sneezing into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
    • The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).


If you have further questions/concerns, please visit/call the following:

Tarrant County Public Health

CDC-Center for Disease Control

  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

WHO – World Health Organization

  • https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

Catalyst Health Network

Continue Reading How to Prevent Spread of COVID-19