Health Care Center Update May 7th 2020

Message #7

May 7, 2020

Helping You Stay Informed and Healthy

  • We’re Here for You - Please Don’t Delay Needed Care
  • Expanded Telehealth
  • Testing Updates: Antibody and Diagnostic
  • CDC Adds to COVID-19 Symptom List
  • Is It COVID-19, a Cold, or Just My Seasonal Allergies?
  • Updated Stay-at-Home Orders


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our community, we understand that some patients may have general concerns about seeking health care during this time. Please be assured that we are here for you and committed to supporting your health care needs as safely as possible. To that end, we have taken important steps to safely deliver care, including temperature screening and universal masking upon arrival at our Health Care Centers and designating separate sites to treat patients with respiratory symptoms.

If you have a medical issue, including care you may need to help manage a chronic condition, please don’t delay getting in touch with us. Your Martin's Point provider may also be in the best position to advise you regarding a planned elective procedure. Please call soon if you have any questions about your medical care so we can ensure you get the most safe and appropriate services you may need.


We’re very pleased to be able to offer an interactive, face-to-face experience for our patients with our providers that can take place remotely! Currently, most Martin’s Point providers are offering telehealth visits using Zoom Video technology. When approved by our medical staff, you may use televideo visits as a replacement for some in-person office visits. Please contact your provider’s office and ask if a televideo visit might be best for your health care needs.

Note: You will need a computer or mobile device to use Zoom. We will send instructions for using Zoom if a televideo visit is scheduled for you.


Antibody Tests: There has been much attention in the media on COVID-19 antibody tests now being offered through some commercial labs. The antibody test is a blood test to see if a person had the virus in the past. It cannot diagnose people who currently have COVID-19, and it’s not clear how accurate the tests are at detecting whether a person had COVID-19.

As these antibody tests become more widely available, the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued an alert last week stressing the test’s limitations. At this point, this testing is best suited for large-scale public health surveillance, rather than diagnosing an individual patient or indicating protective immunity against getting the virus. Currently, we do not recommend routine antibody testing for our patients. These tests do not reliably help us guide patient behavior or make treatment decisions. For more information about how antibody tests can be used for public health purposes, please visit the CDC website.

Diagnostic Tests: For your convenience, we continue to offer drive-through testing to see if you currently have COVID-19 using the rapid test providing results within 24 hours. We have also expanded our testing to include patients who have any of the COVID-19 symptoms (no longer restricting testing to high-risk patients). Please call your Martin’s Point provider if you are having any of the symptoms listed below.


Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added new items to a list of COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and can range from mild to severe.

People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

For information from the CDC about COVID-19 symptoms and when to seek emergency medical care, go to CDC: Symptoms of Coronavirus


Spring is here and, unfortunately, it’s a time when colds and seasonal allergies are common. With several overlapping symptoms, it’s natural to wonder if that cough, sneezing, and scratchy throat could be caused by COVID-19. To start, fever is a symptom that’s much more common with the new coronavirus. Itchy eyes are most often a sign of seasonal allergies. Below you’ll find links to Cleveland Clinic and Harvard Medical School articles with more information that can help you understand the differences between the symptoms of these illnesses and take action, if needed. As always, please give your Martin’s Point provider a call if you are concerned about symptoms you may be having.

Cleveland Clinic: Is It Covid-19, a Cold, or Seasonal Flu?

Harvard Health Publishing: Allergies? Common cold? Flu? Or COVID-19?


MAINE: Updated “Stay Safer at Home” universal guidelines and information regarding the gradual reopening of the economy are available at the State of Maine website.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Updated “Stay at Home 2.0” universal guidelines and information regarding the gradual reopening of the economy are available at the State of New Hampshire website.


Your safety and health are of the utmost importance to us. Thank you for your loyalty to Martin’s Point, and please, reach out to us with any concerns.


Jonathan Harvey

Chief Medical Officer

Martin’s Point Health Care