DUNKIRK, Md. (WJZ) — Many health professionals are adapting to increasing guidance for people to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Obviously, [doctors] can’t examine a patient, but they can really do everything they need to do via TeleHealth,” Dr. Johnathan Lowenthal, of Calvert Internal Medicine Group, said.

Lowenthal said he sees half his patients these days through an online portal.

“If someone has mild symptoms and we do a TeleHealth visit and they’re not really sick, if they don’t really want to be tested, we just quarantine them at home,” he said. “I think that’s probably the safest thing they can do.”

Lowenthal said results just came back for his first COVID-19 positive patient who he tested a week ago.

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“The flu test takes 15 minutes, and once that test is back, if it’s negative, we send them home for self-isolation at home until those results become available,” Lowenthal said.

COVID-19 tests are limited, so doctors are trying to save them for those who need them the most.

“It is challenging because you can’t examine a patient, but really, for this particular situation, you can do a good screening to make a decision about testing by talking with them,” Lowenthal said.

Insurers are beginning to cover more TeleHealth visits. Last week, Medicare announced it would cover Telehealth services and providers may waive or reduce cost sharing.

“Patients are adapting very rapidly and i suspect once this pandemic is hopefully over soon, I think the Telehealth is really here to stay for many of our patients,” Lowenthal said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler

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