The most recent news and information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This article will be updated with new information as it becomes available. Last updated 4/2 with new service and symptoms chart.
Tufts Health Plan has activated its Pandemic Planning work group, established to respond to public health issues and crises. The group meets regularly as it continuously prepares to respond to changing events. It is monitoring and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), State Public Health Departments (CT, NH, MA, RI) and other official sources on an ongoing basis.
Tufts Health Plan members can use Buoy, a free web-based tool to check your symptoms, determine if you should be tested for coronavirus, and learn about the care options available to you. In addition, you can use Buoy to get prevention tips and connect with a free telemedicine provider. Buoy is officially partnered with the State of Massachusetts. To access Buoy, go to: buoy.com/mass.
Tufts Health Plan is committed to making sure you have access to the health care services you need throughout the current coronavirus outbreak. To make it easier to get services related to the coronavirus, there will be no member copays for testing, counseling, and initial treatment of the coronavirus.
Specifically, the following changes are effective March 6, 2020, through April 15, 2020. We will continually examine these changes as circumstances evolve:
We are making it easier for you to get increased access to the prescription drugs you need:
Many providers offer telehealth services. Telehealth services can help members avoid contact with the coronavirus by reducing the need to visit your provider’s office.
Prescription drug information applies to members who have prescription drug coverage included with their plan.
While coronavirus is a new and immediate threat, it’s not the only one. It is still important to take care of any chronic medical problems to prevent them from getting worse. However, talk to your doctor to see if any upcoming appointments can be postponed, handled by telehealth, or rescheduled. Many doctors are cancelling non-essential appointments. If you have an upcoming appointment, call your doctor’s office to confirm it is still scheduled.
People with chronic medical problems, and those over age 65, are at increased risk of getting serious complications from the coronavirus. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. Taking preventive actions is the best way to avoid contracting the virus.
Hand-washing is one of the easiest ways you can help prevent illness. It is especially important to wash your hands:
Remember that surfaces, including bathroom fixtures, such as toilet handles and sink faucets, can also transmit infection.
Are you washing your hands correctly? Follow these 5 steps for the most effective hand-washing technique to prevent the spread of germs.
Coronavirus is primarily transmitted by coughing and sneezing by a person infected by the coronavirus. Surfaces touched by someone with the virus may potentially be infected. This is why it is important to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. In addition, it’s a good idea to avoid shaking hands and minimize your contact with public use surfaces (for example, by lifting the gas pump handle with a paper towel, or using your knuckle instead of your finger to turn off light switches).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves against coronavirus. The use of facemasks is recommended for health workers taking care of people in close settings or people who show symptoms of coronavirus to help prevent the spread of disease.
The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel. If you need to travel, take the basic prevention precautions listed above.
Coronavirus is related to common cold viruses. Symptoms are sore throat, cough, and fever. Some patients can have vomiting. You cannot tell the difference between coronavirus and other, more common viruses based on symptoms. This strain of coronavirus may be more virulent (causes a more severe illness) than most cold viruses.
Coronavirus symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have coronavirus or if you recently traveled from an area with widespread cases of coronavirus. Please don’t just walk into your doctor’s office; they need to prepare for your arrival.
Prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and joint pains are not prominent features of coronavirus infection. If you have those symptoms in addition to cold symptoms, it's more likely that you have influenza, or "the flu". While it is recommended that you stay home if you have cold symptoms during this pandemic, you should call your doctor if you get symptoms that suggest the flu. Adults over age 65 or with other medical problems are at increased risk of complications from the flu. There are medications that reduce the severity of the flu if taken early enough. So you should call your doctor within a day of flu symptoms to see if it would be appropriate for you to get a prescription for antiviral medications.
It’s important to take precautions in advance in case you are required to stay in your home for an extended period of time. General emergency preparedness includes:
We take the safety and well-being of our community, members, and employees very seriously. Given the coronavirus situation is changing daily, we request that you do not visit our office in person.
For the latest up-to-date information on the coronavirus, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19.
Also, the CDC provided this video with recommendations for older adults: