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With the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus declared an emergency at the local, state and national levels, many Americans are struggling to find reliable sources of aid and information. Students, in particular, seem to share the same worries: “How can I tell if I have coronavirus?”, “What should I do if I feel sick?” and “Where do I get tested?”

While many questions still remain unanswered, many groups and healthcare communities are working hard to educate people that are at risk. The Oregon Clinic, a physician-led specialty medical group, recently released an email to inform patients about its services.

“As healthcare providers, we at The Oregon Clinic put the well-being of our patients and our staff first. We know you are concerned about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), especially with cases reported in Oregon and Washington and with the closures of schools and events,” said Richard Jamison, MD, in the email. Jamison works in Gastrointestinal and Minimally Invasive surgery at one of The Oregon Clinic’s locations. “We want to take some time to share our efforts to reduce the potential for exposure at our clinics and help keep our patients, staff and community healthy.”

The Oregon Clinic asks that anyone who is sick to cancel their appointment, as there will be no penalty for cancellation. It also asks that patients do not bring their families or friends to any appointments, unless absolutely necessary. Social distancing will be practiced in all waiting rooms, and patrons will be asked to sit at least three chairs apart from one another.

Both The Oregon Clinic and the federal Centers for Disease Control ask that if you show any symptoms of coronavirus (fever, coughing or shortness of breath), you need to stay home and limit any and all social contact and wash your hands frequently. According to NBC News, your healthcare provider will decide whether or not you will receive COVID-19 testing after you call and describe your symptoms and pre-existing health conditions. Because of the issues with underfunding and preparation in the United States, many healthcare institutions are having to ration their COVID-19 tests for those who are at the highest risk.

If you believe that you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and immediately start acting as a self-quarantine. The CDC website has steps and tips if you or a loved one is struggling at home.

According to the CDC, avoid sharing anything that has come in close contact with another person’s saliva, and distance yourself from sick individuals. Try to maintain healthy eating and sleeping patterns, and remember to always wash your hands and sanitize after being in a public setting. It is recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

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