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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated: February 16, 2022

Some of the information below is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

The following people should get tested for current COVID-19 infection:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19. People who have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. People who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection:
    • Fully vaccinated people should be tested five to seven days after their last exposure.
    • People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested immediately when they find out they are a close contact. If their test result is negative, they should get tested again five to seven days after their last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who are prioritized for expanded community screening for COVID-19.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who have been asked or referred to get testing by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, state, tribal, local, or territorial health department.

How can someone get tested for COVID-19 at Phelps Health?

If you think you have COVID-19 and/or want to get tested at Phelps Health, please read these reminders.

COVID-19 Exposure: If you have been exposed to COVID-19, but are asymptomatic (you have no symptoms of illness), please stay home and monitor for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider for care instructions.

COVID-19 At-Home Tests: At-home COVID-19 tests are accurate, and you do not need follow-up testing. If your at-home test shows that you are positive for COVID-19, contact your doctor or healthcare provider for treatment options.

Free testing resources:

🏡 State at-home test portal (PCR): Health.Mo.Gov/test

🧪 Federal at-home test portal (antigen):

Reminder: Always call your primary care physician or provider first. Your doctor’s office may be able to help. If you are not a current Phelps Health patient, you can establish care with a Phelps Health primary care physician or provider today by calling (573) 364-9000.

Monitoring Update: COVID-19 at-home test kits are available for purchase at local pharmacies. 

How much does a COVID-19 test cost?

On March 18, 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which requires all COVID-19 testing and related services to be completely covered by government insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, and most private insurance plans. In addition, visits to doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, emergency rooms as well as Telehealth visits must be covered by insurance companies as long these visits relate to providing or administering a COVID-19 test or determining the need for such a test.

At-home COVID-19 test kits are available for free through the Missouri DHSS.  This option allows for ordering a kit to be shipped to home. After self-collection by easy-to-follow instructions, the kit is returned to a laboratory, free of charge via FedEx. You must provide an email address in order to receive the test result. Once ordered, the kit typically arrives in two days (depending on current demand). The kit is good for six months. Once the sample has been collected, it must be packaged in the prepaid FedEx shipping envelope (according to directions) and returned to a FedEx collection site within 24 hours.

Please note that due to the current spike in demand and shipping backlog, orders are currently paused until January 12. Beginning January 12, a limited quantity will be available each day through January. If the ordering site says the limit has been reached, please check back again the following day for availability. Thank you for your patience.

Order Free COVID-19 Test Kit Here 

What happens if a patient received testing for COVID-19 at Phelps Health?

Patients should call their primary care provider if they have not received a follow-up call or MyChart message with their test results within five to seven days. Patients who have been tested should remain in self-isolation until the test results are available. Follow the advice given to you by your healthcare provider or doctor's office.

Learn about when and if you need to quarantine or isolate from the CDC. These recommendations do not apply to healthcare personnel and do not supersede state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

If a patient’s symptoms worsen (such as developing shortness of breath, chest pain or confusion), they should call ahead to their local emergency department to let staff know they are coming to the emergency department. A patient also can call 911 in an emergency. When calling 911, patients should notify the dispatcher they have COVID-19, so the EMS crew can wear appropriate protection.

Patients should remain isolated from others in their home, cover any coughs/sneezes, not share common household items (such as cups and silverware) and frequently wash hands.

What should I do if I am sick with COVID-19?

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

  • Stay at home (except to get medical care).
  • Separate yourself from others.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when around others.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces every day.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.

For more information, see What to Do If You Are Sick.

If you tested positive for COVID-19, learn what to do.

For how long do I need to quarantine?

According to the Phelps-Maries County Health Department, "Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the one to two days prior to onset of symptoms and the two to three days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for five days to minimize the risk of infecting others.

"Additionally, CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than two months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days. Alternatively, if a five-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day five after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19."

Learn about when and if you need to quarantine or isolate from the CDC. These recommendations do not apply to healthcare personnel and do not supersede state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

What should I do if I have an upcoming appointment at Phelps Health?

In order to ensure your safety, and the safety of other patients and staff at Phelps Health, we have implemented precautions to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. At Phelps Health, we provide a safe environment for patients who need to seek care at our hospital and clinics. We continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect all of our facilities on a regular basis, so you can feel comfortable you are in a safe and clean environment when receiving care at Phelps Health.

When you arrive at Phelps Health for your appointment, be prepared to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Please review our visitor policy prior to arriving at Phelps Health.
  • Upon arrival to a clinic or outpatient setting, patients will see signage directing them to wear a mask, practice hand hygiene and proceed to their destination.
  • Universal masking is required. 
  • Follow social distancing guidelines when moving throughout Phelps Health Hospital or clinics.

If you have questions about your upcoming appointment(s) at Phelps Health, please call your healthcare provider ahead of time. 

You also can see your Phelps Health doctor or provider virtually through Telehealth visits, which are a safe, secure and confidential way for you to visit remotely with your provider from your smartphone with audio and video capabilities. A majority of our clinics and providers’ offices offer this service. To learn more about Telehealth visits, please call your provider’s office. 

Do Not Delay Emergency Care

If you have an emergency, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department. The Phelps Health Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Does Phelps Health have any visitor restrictions?

Read the current visitor guidelines at Phelps Health.

Please note: As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, Phelps Health may change visitor restrictions. Please check our social media pages and website for the latest on Phelps Health’s response to COVID-19. 

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