Healthcare Access during COVID-19

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Healthcare facilities remain open to provide services as outlined in the Health Officer’s guidance.

Accessing Healthcare & Other Health Services

Maintaining good health and recovering fully from illness entails accessing information, services and resources.  Healthcare providers are operating under the health officer’s shelter in place and physical distancing orders, which may result in a change in how the public accesses care.

Doctor’s offices, clinics, and emergency rooms are still open and available if you are sick or need medical care.

Medical providers are taking necessary mitigation measures including screening, wearing masks and requiring that patients wear face coverings, maintaining physical distancing and frequently cleaning and disinfecting spaces and facilities.

Please do go to the doctor or emergency room if you need to.

Please follow Facial Covering Health Order and Social Distancing guidelines when in public.

Medical Care

At this time, most routine care is being conducted via telehealth visits (e.g., phone call, video-chat) to protect both patients and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • While elective surgeries and procedures have been postponed to allow healthcare workers to focus their attention and resources to the COVID-19 response, people may obtain healthcare at a hospital, clinic, dentist, pharmacy, home healthcare, mental health counselor and any related healthcare service provider.
    • Contact your healthcare provider first if you have a previously scheduled appointment or are feeling sick.
    • This does not include fitness, exercise gyms, nail salons, spas and other facilities.
  • For non-essential medical appointments such as annual physical exams, well-child visits, routine bloodwork and eye exams, health officials recommend speaking with your medical provider’s office first so they may evaluate your needs on a case-by-case basis.
    • Note: Most healthcare facilities have delayed or cancelled elective surgeries.
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms (or other ailments), contact your healthcare provider for guidance.
    • If you do not have a healthcare provider or insurance, contact the nearest community health center.
    • Currently, due to the limited availability of COVID-19 tests, they may be ordered by doctors only when a patient has symptoms or a history of exposure to the virus. The tests are processed by either a commercial lab or through the Sonoma County Public Health Lab and commercial If your healthcare provider orders a test, you will not be charged a co-pay through commercial insurance, Medi-Cal, or Medicare.
    • If you are concerned about your need or ability to access care, see Special populations and Circumstances

Dental Care

Dental care is limited to emergency services.

  • If your mouth or teeth hurt or you think you have a dental emergency, do not go to the Emergency Room.
    • Instead, call your dental provider or local safety-net clinic. Tell them how you feel, including if you have a fever, a cough or chest pain. They will tell you what to do next.
  • Some examples of dental emergencies are:
    • Very bad, persistent tooth pain
    • Swollen gums, face, or neck
    • Bleeding in your mouth that does not stop
    • Infection or a substantial risk of it
    • Recent trauma to the mouth
  • Reschedule dental appointments for these types of services:
    • Regular exam or cleaning
    • Regular visits for braces
    • Treatment for cavities that are not painful
    • Removal of teeth that are not painful
  • Practice basic dental hygiene:
    • Brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste 2 times a day
    • Floss your teeth before you brush
    • Clean your tongue
    • Avoid sugary and sticky food and beverages

Mental & Behavioral Healthcare

COVID-19 has presented many challenges that lead to increased stress and anxiety. Hearing or seeing news about COVID-19, sheltering in place in a crowded house, adjusting to new routines with children out-of-school, and disruptions to your work affecting your income and sense of security may make you feel anxious, isolated and stressed—even when you are at low risk for getting sick. Feelings of stress and grief are normal.

Prescriptions & Over-the-Counter Medications

Drugstores and other medical supply stores are considered “essential businesses” and are allowed to operate.

  • When possible, arrange to have the drugstore deliver your prescription medicine to your home.

Alternative & Complementary Medicine

  • People who need massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and other methods to manage pain and other conditions should consult with their medical or alternative care provider for up to date
  • Cannabis dispensaries remain open to provide curbside service or home deliveries and people do not need to have a medical marijuana card to purchase.

Special Populations & Circumstances

Seniors

People 65 and older or living in a nursing home or long-term care facility are at higher risk for exposure to and complications from COVID-19.

  • People with underlying health conditions, including serious heart disease, liver disease, HIV, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma or who have weakened immune systems due to cancer treatment or other factors also are at greater risk for higher severity of COVID-19.
  • Read about the Health Officer Order for Congregate Settings (including nursing home and long-term care) to protect seniors.
  • Learn more about additional precautions to take.

Pregnant Women

Many prenatal visits may be conducted by phone with your healthcare provider.

  • If you become sick before birth, please consult with your prenatal provider who will determine if testing for COVID-19 is appropriate.
    • Note: Currently there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted from mother to baby in the uterus, nor during delivery. However, there is concern for a sick mother to pass the infection to her infant through close contact.
  • See Information for Pregnant Women and CDC Guidance on Pregnancy & Breastfeeding.

Uninsured or Underinsured

Immigrant Community

The Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS) will not consider examinations, treatment, or receiving preventive services related to COVID-19 (such as vaccines, if any) as a reason for deportation or to no longer be eligible for legal immigration status.

  • Seeking healthcare also will not impact the public charge conditions affecting those requesting an extension of status or change of status, even if treatment is provided or paid for by public office subsidies as defined by the rule as if the service is covered by Medicaid.
  • If you do not already have a healthcare provider, contact the nearest community health center.

Homeless

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness and would like more information about other services you may qualify for please call the County’s Community Intervention Program at (707) 565-4811. For additional resources, see: