At Newton Family Physicians, our first priority is your health. During this uncertain time, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping up with the recommendations and guidelines of local health officials and the CDC.
We do feel that it is safe for you to come to the office and we are seeing patients for all types of visits. We have implemented a number of protocols and procedures and we are constantly reassessing and adjusting our practices.
We require that all patients who come to the office wear a mask or some sort of face covering that covers the mouth and nose. A face shield alone is not adequate. We are all wearing masks as well. This helps protect our patients and our staff and reduces everyone’s risk of exposure.
We do offer COVID-19 testing here but only for our current patients. We have the rapid antigen test that takes about 20 minutes. We can also do the PCR test through Labcorp and it can take anywhere from 1-5 days to get results. The rapid antigen test is 97% as accurate as the PCR test but both have a sensitivity of about 80%, which means there is a 20% false negative rate.
The guidelines currently suggest testing patients in whom COVID is suspected. Typically this means patients with cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, headache, nausea or diarrhea. Symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure. Please see our latest isolation/quarantine guidelines for anyone awaiting test results or with exposure to a COVID patient.
If you have had a HIGH RISK EXPOSURE (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes without masks on), then you should monitor yourself for symptoms and be evaluated if symptoms develop. This typically happens about 5 days after exposure. If a patient tests positive, everyone in that household does not necessarily need to be tested immediately. You must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether you have symptoms and even if you test negative. Unless you are told by the health department to get tested, we recommend waiting to see if symptoms develop or waiting at least 5 days from exposure. This avoids testing too early.
You can also get tested through the local Health Department and various other sites. Please see the NCDHHS website to find a testing site:
If you have any possible COVID symptoms, you will be seeing our on call physician and will use the side urgent care/emergency entrance. As you face the main entrance to the office, the side entrance is around to the right. There are a few parking spots available there. When we interact with patients who could potentially have COVID-19, we are using personal protective equipment such as N-95 masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.
In order to limit time spent in close contact with other people, we have closed our waiting room and have implemented smart phone check in. When you make your appointment, you will get a text with a link to get registered and update your information. You will then get another link. WHEN you arrive at the office, please click on this second link to let us know you are here. PLEASE STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE. You will get a text or a phone call when your room is ready and a nurse will meet you at the door to escort you into the building. If we are running behind, the nurse will try to communicate with you while you wait via text. If you have arrived and aren’t sure the link worked, please call to let us know you are here.
We request that you come alone when you are able or bring no more than 1 other person to the visit with you.
We will be screening everyone upon entering the building by checking temperatures. If you (or someone you are with) has a temperature over 100, we will assist you in making a sick visit appointment to be seen as soon as possible with our on call doctor and ask you to enter through the side urgent care entrance. You will still wait in your car until your room is ready.
We continue to offer virtual visits during regular office hours via telemedicine for many types of appointments during the pandemic. You can get most medications refilled or be seen for many acute sick visits without having to come in person, which is especially helpful for those of you who are very high risk. If you need labs, we can place an order for you to come another day for labs only. Please call the office during regular office hours to schedule a telemedicine visit. You just need a computer, tablet/iPad or a smart phone. These visits allow us to provide the best care remotely and allows the patient to communicate directly with a provider while keeping everyone as safe as possible.
We have enhanced our cleaning practices and we are disinfecting exam rooms and all surfaces after every patient.
We encourage all of our patients to limit their exposure with good hygiene and by practicing social distancing. Please stay home as much as possible and wear a mask when you are out in public.
Updated on September 2, 2020.