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Coronaviruses are not new.  They have been around for thousands of years, and are a common cause of upper respiratory infections.  Most of us have been infected by them at one time or another.  They typically cause mild respiratory symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sore throat and sometimes a fever.  Coronaviruses are typically not associated with lower respiratory tract infections.  In the past, there has been no increased concern over them, and physicians invariably do not test for them when patients present with cold symptoms.  Coronaviruses are spread from person to person through respiratory droplet secretions and from infected surfaces when those secretions come in contact with our eyes, nose and mouth.


The current coronavirus outbreak which began in late 2019 has been named SARS-CoV-2 and seems to be somewhat similar to the SARS outbreak in 2002 although more widespread.  The disease it is causing has been named “COVID-19”.  As you likely know, the face of this epidemic changes daily.  It began in the Hubei Province of China, and has been spreading worldwide. Like you, we rely on information from the CDC, WHO and our local health departments to tell us the latest information regarding its spread.  Collective knowledge about the illness is evolving.  It would be unwise to cite death rates from this disease, as no one really knows.  We only know the death cases due to the virus, but we do not know the number of people infected.  What we do know, is that like the SARS-CoV outbreak of 2002-2003, children do not seem to be affected as significantly as adults by this current virus.  The most deaths have occurred in the elderly (especially those above 80 years of age) and in those with a pre-existing medical condition.


First, try not to panic.  Remember again, that the mortality risk appears to be low for non-elderly and those without a chronic medical condition.  

Remember, the virus is spread person-to-person through droplets and from infected surfaces.  Follow standard precautions for all illnesses:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick if possible and social distance if you need to be out and about

  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

  3. Stay at home if you are sick

  4. Cover your coughs or sneezes with your elbow or tissue, and throw away the tissue

  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

  6. Wear a face mask if you are around others

  7. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before meals, and after coughing and sneezing.


The providers at VPAC are staying abreast of the current pandemic, and will update our infection control practices according to those recommended to us by the health department and the CDC. You will notice that we have removed all books from our waiting rooms and patient rooms.  We encourage you to bring your own books and devices from home when visiting our office.   We ask that only one parent and no siblings come with each patient in order to limit exposure. We will try to leave all non-essential doors open (within the regulations of safety and privacy) in order to limit patient and family contact with handles and surfaces.  In addition to the hygiene measures mentioned above, we encourage you to use the foam sanitizer found throughout our office in the wall canisters whenever entering or leaving a patient room and upon leaving our office. 

Please see our temporary scheduling changes and option for telemedicine.


Covid Testing Recommendations by Scenario

Asymptomatic with Known or Suspected Exposure

  • If you ARE FULLY VACCINATED, you need not be tested unless you become symptomatic

  • If you are NOT FULLY VACCINATED, a PCR Covid Test is the recommended test in this situation

  • You should not use a Covid Antigen test as it is not accurate with asymptomatic infections

  • You should quarantine per Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Guidelines

  • The PCR Covid Test is a SEND OUT test in this situation.  It cannot be run in the office and cannot be paid for out of pocket per insurance contracts

  • The test is best done at least 5 full days after last exposure.  Testing prior to that time cannot ensure lack of infection as it can take 5 days before an exposed person becomes positive with the PCR Test.

  • If you come in for testing prior to 5 days after last exposure, you provider will likely recommend that you return at that time for testing.

Asymptomatic with No Known Exposure (Surveillance Testing)

  • This is likely surveillance for a medical procedure, travel, reassurance or other requirement

  • A PCR Covid Test is the recommended test in this situation.

  • The PCR Covid Test is a SEND OUT test in this situation.  It cannot be run in the office and cannot be paid for out of pocket per insurance contracts

  • If your particular requirement allows you to have a rapid covid test, it can be run in house

  • Your requirements may also allow you to do an at home antigen test.

  • Realize that in spite of your requirements, rapid Covid Antigen tests are unreliable and have a high false negative rate in asymptomatic people (negative test in the presence of infection)

  • VPAC can give documentation of Covid antigen test results, but cannot endorse a negative Covid antigen test result as proof that you do not have Covid infection.

Symptoms Possibly Consistent with Covid Infection Between 2-5 Days

  • A Rapid Antigen Covid Test is an appropriate test in this situation

  • Rapid antigen tests have a low false negative rate in this situation (negative test in the presence of infection) and are therefore an appropriate test in this situation

  • You and your provider might choose to do a Covid PCR test depending on your unique situation and insurance rules

  • Either test can be done in the office depending on availability

  • We do not do a rapid test followed by a PCR test, as it is unnecessary and will not be covered by your insurance

Symptoms Possibly Consistent with Covid Infection for <2 Days or >5 Days

  • The PCR Covid Test is the most reliable test in this situation

  • The test can be done in the office depending on availability


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