Last updated: 09/18/2022

All Things COVID

*This page is to provide a central area of information about the COVID-19 virus. As data and recommendations are fluid, this page may not have the most up-to-date information. We will make every effort to keep this page updated and accurate but personalized recommendations should come from your own physician and this page should not be construed as medical advice. The upper right hand corner will show when the page was last updated. If you have any suggestions you would like to contribute please email us at hello@bloomprimarycare.com.

Vaccine
Where to get your vaccine

California and San Mateo County has done a great job getting vaccinated. If you have not yet received your vaccine and would like to find out where you can go, go to:

https://myturn.ca.gov

San Mateo Event Center: no need for an appointment! Myturn.gov

Pharmacies: make an appointment, some walk in at the following pharmacies- CVS , Rite Aid, Safeway, Walgreens, Costco and Lucky.

Are you homebound?  You can still get your vaccine! 

https://www.smchealth.org/post/covid-19-vaccine-homebound-residents

 

Want to coordinate a vaccination event for your neighborhood, organization or company? Get at least 25 people together and the county will do a pop-up vaccination event for you! 

The new Bivalent booster, should I get mine?

Yes! The new COVID Bivalent booster is available at area pharmacies and has been made to specifically target both the original SARS Co-V -2 strain and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

  • You must have completed the primary vaccine series but don't necessarily have had the previous 1 or 2 boosters.

  • You must be at least 2 months from your last COVID vaccine or COVID infection

  • Be 12 years and up for Pfizer and 18 years and up for Moderna. No data yet showing any preference for either manufacturer and it doesn't matter what you received before.

  • When you make your appointment at your local pharmacy, please confirm prior to appointment and at time of administration, that it is the Bivalent booster.

  • The recommendation is everyone try to get vaccinated by Halloween in anticipation of holiday gatherings.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html

Lost your vaccine card?

The California Department of Public Health has created an online portal for people to access their vaccine information:

https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov

Woman Getting Tested
All about testing

Testing remains an important part of controlling COVID-19. 

Who should get tested? Anyone unvaccinated or vaccinated with symptoms of COVID-19. 

Rapid Antigen tests (results within 15 minutes) are good to be used when you have possible COVID symptoms. These can be purchased over-the-counter or online.

PCR tests tend to be more accurate. These are preferred for asymptomatic screening and for confirmation of a rapid antigen test.

What kind of test should I get?

  • If you do not have symptoms but had an exposure, a PCR test is the most accurate, test 3-5 days after exposure.

  • If you do have symptoms, then a rapid antigen test is acceptable.

Things to know about COVID-19 testing:

  • Remember that rapid antigen tests due have a high false negative rate (you test negative even though you likely have COVID-19) but a low false positive rate (if you test positive, it is very likely true).

  • PCR tests can remain positive for some weeks/months after COVID-19 recovery. If your rapid antigen tests remain positive >1 week after onset of symptoms, talk to your physician for more information.

Where to get tests and testing:

You can obtain 8 free rapid antigen tests from the US postal office. https://special.usps.com/testkits or www.covid.gov/tests.

Many commercial insurance companies cover home tests and PCR tests, submit for reimbursement.

For patients who are symptomatic and want PCR testing, it can be arranged through our office at Sutter San Carlos.

Below, some are covered by insurance or are free, some are cash pay.

Young Barista
Positive for COVID-19? Available Treatments and Guidelines.

The current COVID-19 variants are highly transmissible. If you have avoided COVID-19 until now, there is a good chance you may contract it. The good news is, you are less likely to die or be hospitalized if you are vaccinated and there are some treatments available. 

If you are at risk for severe disease, the following treatments are available:

  • Paxolovid (ritonavir)- oral drug and available but numerous potential drug interactions. Should be given as soon as possible and within 5 days. Would recommend for those over 50 with risk factors, given increasing rebound symptoms requiring re-quarantining due to transmission.

  • Xevudy (sotrovimab)- monoclonal antibody, single intravenous infusion given in the hospital or emergency room.

  • Veklury (remdesivir)- monoclonal antibody, three daily intravenous infusions, if hospitalized.

For Paxlovid, there are Test to Treat Centers available if you cannot reach a physician: 

https://covid-19-test-to-treat-locator-dhhs.hub.arcgis.com. Please use caution and make sure they know about your other medications as some do interact with Paxlovid.

If you are immunocompromised and were unable to be vaccinated, you may be eligible for (PrEP) Pre-exposure prophylaxis with Evushield, two monoclonal antibodies administered as two separate intramuscular injections. The criteria are:

  • moderate to severely compromised immune systems due to a medical condition or due to taking immunosuppressive medications or treatments and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination (examples of such medical conditions or treatments can be found in the fact sheet for health care providers) or;

  • a history of severe adverse reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine and/or component(s) of those vaccines, therefore vaccination with an available COVID-19 vaccine, according to the approved or authorized schedule, is not recommended.

  • cannot be currently infected with COVID-19 or have had a COVID-19 exposure.

What if you have mild disease? What can I take?

  • Vitamin D- many studies have failed to show benefit but low risk to supplment

  • Zinc- in high doses, can be toxic. The total recommended dose should be no larger than 40mg a day.

  • You can take: fluids, tylenol/ibuprofen, get a pulse oximeter from Amazon* and rest. If your pulse oximeter is less than 90%, please go to the emergency room or call 911. If you develop chest pain or shortness of breath, call your physician or call 911.

*(for example) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004BJT9OE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Quarantine vs Isolation:

Quarantine means staying home. It is no longer required for most people who have been exposed, but test negative. But it may be recommended if you live or work in a high-risk setting.

Isolation means staying home and away from others in your household. It is for people who are ill or test positive.

Isolation guidelines:

If you were exposed but have no symptoms

Regardless of your vaccination status:

  • Get tested 3-5 days from last exposure

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days, even at home

  • If test result is positive, isolate

If you had COVID-19 within the last 90 days:

  • You don’t need to test unless symptoms start

  • If symptoms start, isolate and get tested

If you test positive or have symptoms

Regardless of your vaccination status or infection history:

  • Isolate for at least 5 days

    • Sleep and stay in a separate room from those not infected

    • Use a separate bathroom if you can

    • Wear a mask around others, even at home

  • Get tested (antigen preferred) on Day 5

  • End isolation on Day 6 if:

    • You test negative, AND

    • Have no fever for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication, AND

    • Your other symptoms are gone or going

  • End isolation on Day 10 if:

    • You test positive on Day 5 or don’t test, AND

    • You have no fever for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication

  • If you still have a fever, continue to isolate until it’s been gone for 24 hours

  • After you recover, wear a mask around others for 10 full days after start of symptoms or your positive test

For children who test positive:

  • Children under 2 can end isolation on Day 6 without a negative test

  • Children 2 years and older should follow the steps above for ending isolation

Learn more in What to Do if You Test Positive from CDPH.

Image by Fábio  Alves
I'm vaccinated. What activities can I do safely?

On June 15, the state of California lifted many restrictions and the economy is fully open. San Mateo County has not added any additional restrictions.

When do you have to mask? 

There are not mandatory mask requirements except for health facilities. The San Mateo and San Francisco County Departments of Health do strongly recommend indoor masking and using high quality masks such as N95 and K95. 

 

For more strategies to help reduce the risk of COVID-19:

 

https://www.smchealth.org/post/covid-19-prevention-strategies

Image by Fábio  Alves
Travel guidelines

Travel guidelines have eased up significantly but still vary from country to country.

Many countries still require proof of vaccination and boosters, so don't wait till the last minute to find out. 

Make sure you check at the time of booking and before you leave, what are the requirements for vaccination, testing for not just your destination country but any layovers you may have.

Many countries still require masking on public transportation and the CDC also strongly recommends masking on any public transportation.

Take several rapid antigen tests with you, a thermometer, acetaminophen/ibuprofen when you travel. 

Check cancellation policies or your travel insurance if you have to cance/change your flights, hotels, transportation.

If you test positive for COVID while traveling, it is recommended that you do not travel a full 10 days after a positive test or after start of symptoms. 

If you have been exposed to COVID while traveling, here are the CDC recommendations:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html#do-not-travel