Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing and Vaccines

News and updates regarding Doctors Care and coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 Testing

Can I get tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Doctors Care?

Yes! COVID-19 tests are available at ALL of our open locations across the state of South Carolina. We offer both rapid molecular tests (supplies may be limited, due to high demand), and PCR send-out laboratory tests.

If you get a rapid test, you’ll receive the results of your test during your visit. You may also be tested for seasonal flu or strep throat at the same time. If rapid tests aren’t available due to supply chain issues, then a PCR send-out test can be conducted. Timeframes for receiving results from send-out diagnostic tests will depend on current lab volumes across the state at the time of your test.

Before you come, please check our locations page to verify hours of operation.

Our Doctors Care Anywhere virtual visit providers are also available and can refer you into a drive through testing site if you need a test for travel or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19. Drive through testing sites are available in Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Charleston, and are by appointment only.

What do I do if I have symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you think you have been exposed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and have developed symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, we encourage you receive a rapid molecular test as soon as you can.

Take the following steps monitor your health and protect those around you:

  • Stay home and isolate yourself from friends and family to prevent transmission
  • Take over-the-counter medicines at recommended doses to relieve pain and reduce fever
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep your hands clean by washing well with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your face

Seek immediate medical treatment if you are experiencing emergency warning signs, including trouble breathing and/or persistent pain or pressure in the chest.

When should I get tested after potential exposure to COVID-19?

It usually takes a few days after exposure to produce a positive COVID-19 test result. At this time, there are no firm numbers for exactly how long it takes to get an accurate positive test result. The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically around 2 to 14 days. Most people’s symptoms appear around day five, on average. Therefore, it’s recommended that you wait to get tested for at least two to three days after potential exposure. Some health experts say five days after exposure might be a good testing point, since that’s the median time when symptoms usually appear. If you test too soon, you may not have enough virus in your system for detection by our test.

Who can be tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Anyone who needs a diagnostic molecular test can obtain one at any of our open Doctors Care locations, or through a provider consultation via the Doctors Care Anywhere virtual urgent care platform.

Can I receive COVID-19 testing for clearance (travel, work, sports)?

Doctors Care is happy to provide testing for clearance purposes, however, please be aware that most insurance plans to not cover this type of testing because it’s not considered “medically necessary.” Because of this, most patients will be billed the self-pay rate for diagnostic testing (instead of filing insurance) of $150 to receive this service.

If you need a test for travel or other clearance, we recommend using our virtual urgent care service, Doctors Care Anywhere. Our online providers can give you a referral for one of our drive-through locations across the state. Drive through testing sites are available in Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Charleston, and are by appointment only.

Do I need an appointment to be tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

No. Doctors Care does not require appointments for any of our in-center services, including rapid molecular COVID-19 testing. However, we do encourage you to check-in online before you come. You can do this by visiting our locations page and finding the center nearest you.

How do I get an appointment to be tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you would rather schedule a next-day appointment for a COVID-19 test, you’ll need speak with one of our online providers via the Doctors Care Anywhere virtual urgent care app. The Doctors Care testing team will contact you to set up an appointment at one of our testing sites near you. You will receive a text message or phone call with your appointment time and testing site location, as well as a link to additional information about what to expect.

Please allow until the end of the day of your virtual visit to be contacted with this information. If you don’t receive instructions by the following morning, please email [email protected] with your information, and someone will reach out to you to help.

What kind of test will I receive?

Doctors Care offers two types of diagnostic tests. You may receive either a rapid molecular test, or a PCR send-out laboratory test.

The Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid molecular test requires a simple nasal swab and provides results in about 15 minutes. If rapid tests aren’t available due to supply chain issues, then a PCR send-out test can be conducted. We have partnerships with many professional labs for send-out tests. Timeframes for receiving results from send-out diagnostic tests will depend on current lab volumes across the state at the time of your test.

What do I do after being tested?

If you received a test in one of our centers you’ll have spoken with a provider on any necessary treatment, and will have received patient education on how to self-isolate. If you received a send-out test and are waiting for your test results, you must quarantine yourself at home and away from others. Please refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/ for information on how to care for yourself at home and minimize exposure risks to family or friends

How will I get my test results?

If you come to one of our centers for a COVID-19 rapid molecular test, you will receive your results during your office visit. The test takes about 15 minutes to complete. You may also be given a rapid test for flu or strep throat, and will receive those results during your visit. It will take about 24-48 hours after your test for your results to be viewable in your patient portal. You will be able to print the test documentation after the results appear in the patient portal.

To register for our patient portal and monitor your testing results, respond to the email link you should have received after your visit. You may also go to doctorscare.com/patientportal/ and register for an account, or login to your existing account.

How long should I isolate or not go to work?

The CDC provides up-to-date guidance on isolation duration based on certain criteria, please refer to the links below for guidelines when considering these questions.

Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html

Criteria for Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/return-to-work.html

Discontinuation of Isolation for Patients with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html

Are there any changes to your hours or open center locations?

Nearly all of our centers remain open at this time. However, in some regions we have temporarily closed select centers to consolidate staffing and supplies at more centrally located centers to best continue providing the care and services that our patients need and deserve.

Visit DoctorsCare.com/locate to find an open location near you.

What is Doctors Care doing to ensure patient safety?

Doctors Care has been actively preparing for the coronavirus pandemic since February, taking into consideration the affect it will have on our communities and world at-large. Strengthening our protocols and devising rapid-response contingency plans have been at the forefront, in addition to extra precautions taken around stringent disinfection and social distancing protocols.

All Doctors Care staff have been trained on the appropriate care for patients with flu-like symptoms and are wearing the proper personal protective apparel. Each of our locations have been equipped with appropriate tools to follow social-distancing protocols, such as cough-guards at the sign-in/welcome desks, and line-indicators on the floor spaced to fit the distancing guidelines. We also require all patients wear a face-covering at all times while in our centers, to help limit the risk of exposure to other patients or our staff. Additionally, non-essential guests of patients are allowed in our centers at this time – this is to protect your guests, as well as other patients and staff.

We are following CDC and SC DHEC guidelines to limit the spread of the virus including how we isolate patients with symptoms and how we disinfect rooms and surfaces between patients.

Click here for more on how we are protecting our patients and staff.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Select Doctors Care locations are participating in the state of South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccination program, however, Walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations are not available. Patients who meet the current qualification criteria must be registered in the VAMS portal to sign-up for a vaccination appointment with Doctors Care when appointments are available. Doctors Care’s eligibility criteria is consistent with the prioritization schedule put out by SC DHEC and the CDC.

For information on how and where to find participating COVID-19 vaccination sites near you, please visit https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov/.

You can also call DHEC’s Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for answers to vaccine related questions and help finding participating providers. The Vaccine Information Line is operating 7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week.

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Can I come to Doctors Care for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations are not currently available at Doctors Care. Patients who meet the current qualification criteria must be registered through the CDC using the Vaccination Administration Management System (VAMS) to be eligible to receive the vaccine at any participating location. Vaccination availability will be consistent with the prioritization schedule put out by SC DHEC and the CDC.

For information on how and where to find COVID-19 vaccination sites near you, please visit https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-appointments.

Will I be charged for the vaccine?

No. Costs for the vaccine will be covered by the federal government. Any additional administrative fees will be filed to your insurance, or covered by the federal government.

Who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Once available, supplies will be used to provide vaccinations to patients consistent with the prioritization schedule established by the government and DHEC.

Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

COVID-19 can have serious and life-threatening complications, so if you get sick, you can spread the disease to family, friends and others around you. The COVID-19 vaccine works along with your immune system so you can protect yourself against the virus if exposed. This vaccine is an important tool in helping to stop the pandemic.

If I’m prone to severe allergic reactions, should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. You should not get the vaccine if you have severe/anaphylactic allergic reactions to the components of the vaccine or to other injections.

Most experts agree, however, that allergies to peanuts, eggs, shellfish, etc. are not a contraindication.

If I’m pregnant, can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, but they should talk to their doctor first. Vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant women who meet criteria based on recommended priority groups according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Please note, no pregnant women were included in the clinical trials at the time of the first dose. Experts say pregnant women have an increased risk of severe illness if they have COVID-19, and are at risk for an adverse pregnancy outcome, such as preterm birth.

Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

No, only ages 16+ can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. A national vaccine committee recommends authorization of the first COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and older. Sixteen and 17 year olds were included in the clinical trials. Further research on the vaccine is needed before administering to younger children as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Will I have side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Side effects can occur with any vaccination or medication. Typically minor, side effects can be sore arm or low-grade fever, and will usually go away within a few days.

COVID-19 vaccines were not approved until clinical trials took place and showed they were safe and effective. Early results from the first COVID-19 vaccines tested in people show they worked as intended with no serious side effects.

Please note that side effects indicate your immune system is responding to the vaccine, and these side effects are common with vaccinations.

Why are there two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Clinical trials showed the vaccine was approximately 50% effective after one dose, and 95% effective after two doses.

Do I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing if I get vaccinated?

Yes, it’s still important for everyone to continue using all tools available to stop the pandemic, such as covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing your hands often, and staying at least six feet away from others.

Experts are working to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before changing any recommendations on steps people should take to slow the spread of the virus. The number of people who get vaccinated, and how the virus is spreading in the communities, will also affect this decision.

While the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown whether you can still carry and transmit the virus.

If I already had COVID-19, do I need to wait 90 days to get vaccinated?

You can get the vaccine if you are not in quarantine or exhibiting symptoms, but you should speak to your primary health care provider first.

If I test positive after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, should I receive the second dose?

You can get the second dose of the vaccine after you have completed your quarantine and no longer exhibiting symptoms, but you should speak to your primary health care provider first.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine offer long-term protection?

Additional research is needed to answer this question, however it is reassuring that available data suggests most people who recover from COVID-19 develop an immune response which provides at least some protection against reinfection. Although, we are still learning about the strength of this protection and how long it lasts.

About the COVID-19 Vaccine

What’s in the COVID-19 vaccine?

Doctors Care is administering the Pfizer vaccine. It is important to know that you cannot become infected with COVID-19 by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. These are inactive vaccines, not live-virus vaccines.

It contains:

  • A nucleotide-modified messenger RNA encoding the viral spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. This is what makes the vaccine work. It instructs the cells in the body on how to make a protein that triggers an immune response.
  • Lipids (fatty substances)
  • Potassium chloride (potassium and chlorine)
  • Monobasic potassium phosphate
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Dibasic sodium phosphate dehydrate
  • Sucrose (sugar)

How can the COVID-19 vaccine be safe if it was developed so quickly?

Because of the global effects of the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies have invested significant resources into developing a COVID-19 vaccine quickly. An emergency situation warranted an emergency response. This does not mean the companies bypassed safety protocols or performed inadequate testing.

The Pfizer vaccine has been studied in approximately 43,000 people, and is shown to be 95% effective in preventing the virus after a two-dose regimen. Studies followed participants in the clinical trials for the vaccine for two months after they received it.

In addition to the safety review by the Food and Drug Administration, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convened a panel of vaccine safety experts to independently evaluate the safety data from the clinical trial.

Vaccine development typically takes many years; however, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Since the survival rate for COVID-19 is high overall, wouldn’t side effects from the vaccine be more dangerous?

No. While the COVID-19 survival rate may be high, it’s important to note that a 1% mortality rate is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu. In addition, the mortality rate can vary widely based on age, gender and underlying health conditions.

In contrast, clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines have shown only short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury.

While some people who receive the vaccine may develop symptoms as their immune system responds, that’s common when receiving any vaccine, and these symptoms are not considered serious or life-threatening. And you cannot become infected with COVID-19 from COVID-19 vaccines. These are inactivated vaccines, not live-virus vaccines.

Moreover, it’s important to recognize that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not just about survival from COVID-19. It’s about preventing spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects.

While no vaccine is 100% effective, getting vaccinated is far better than not getting vaccinated. The benefits outweigh the risks in healthy people.

I heard the COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA. Is that true?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine has messenger RNA, or mRNA. Messenger RNA vaccines work by instructing cells in the body on how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Injecting messenger RNA into your body will not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells. Human cells break down and get rid of the messenger RNA soon after they have finished using the instructions.

How quickly will the COVID-19 vaccinations stop the pandemic?

The impact of COVID-19 vaccines on the pandemic will depend on several factors such as effectiveness, manufacturing, delivery and how many people get vaccinated.

Antibody Testing

What does “antibody testing” mean?

This blood test identifies the presence of antibodies which indicate a person has had an immune response to COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2). A positive result to this antibody (IgG) test indicates you may have had a previous exposure to COVID-19 and your body has developed antibodies.

Am I a good candidate for testing?

All interested persons who have had NO COVID-19 related symptoms for the last 14 days are appropriate candidates for obtaining this test.

To protect center staff, please remember to wear either a face mask or some other form of face covering, like a scarf, when arriving at the center. Please refrain from visiting any of our locations if you have had symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days as you may still be contagious.

Where can I get the antibody test?

All of our locations offer this test as a walk-in service, no appointment needed. However, we recommend that you check our locations page to make sure the location nearest you is open during the hours you want to come, as some of our centers are experiencing abbreviated hours.

Is fasting required for the COVID-19 antibody test?

Fasting is not required for this test.

Is this a blood test or a nasal swab?

This test requires a blood draw from the arm to detect for COVID-19 IgG antibodies. Although it may take up to 14 days after the onset of symptoms for antibodies to develop, 91% of people develop antibodies within 8-13 days. Some people infected with COVID-19 will never exhibit symptoms but will have a detectable antibody response.

Is this a test I can take at home?

No, you will need to visit one of our centers for a blood draw. Visit DoctorsCare.com/locations to find a center near you.

How do I get my results, and how long will it take?

Most results come back from the lab within 3 days of your blood draw. In some cases, due to increased demand, turnaround times may be longer. It may also take up to 3 days for your results to display in your patient portal.

You will receive a phone call from our staff with your results when they return from the lab. You will be able to print a copy of your results from the Doctors Care Patient Portal.

General Coronavirus Information

How does the coronavirus spread?

The virus 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.
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Practice social distancing and wear face coverings to limit your exposure risk.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

For non-emergency cases, visit www.DoctorsCare.com/Anywhere for virtual care.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately by dialing 9-1-1. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

How can you protect yourself and others?

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask whenever you are in a public setting and/or are around others where social distancing isn’t possible.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. More information on Are you at higher risk for serious illness?

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

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