January 26, 2021

COVID-19: The latest information

Working together with our members, patients, communities, employees, and physicians, we can combat this virus.

While the emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccines brings hope, COVID-19 still poses a dangerous risk, particularly for older individuals and people of any age with underlying health conditions. The virus continues to spread around the globe and within the United States, where the number of cases has surpassed 25 million with more than 400,000 fatalities.

Given the continued growth in U.S. COVID-19 cases and the discovery of more contagious variants, Kaiser Permanente’s infectious disease experts and clinicians agree that avoiding unnecessary travel and in-person gatherings remain the best way to protect yourself and others, as both activities increase your chances of getting and spreading the virus. In addition to staying home, healthy behaviors — such as wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and keeping your distance — are still the best defense against infection. We can slow the spread of this virus, but only if we do it together.

“While we are optimistic about the new vaccines , it will take a long time to achieve widespread vaccination — something that is vital to ending this pandemic,” said Kaiser Permanente national infectious disease leader Paul Thottingal, MD. “Public health measures and stay-at-home orders remain essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19. We also strongly encourage people to get a flu shot.”

Kaiser Permanente’s response

We are deeply grateful to our medical teams, staff, and employees who are expertly and compassionately caring for and protecting our members, patients, communities, and each other. Here are just a few ways we’re adjusting to ensure we can provide convenient and high-quality care for our members and patients to keep everyone safe.

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Video visits per weekday

40,000
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Rx home deliveries per day

116,000
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COVID-19 diagnostic tests

5 million
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COVID-19 studies

9

Nearly half of our outpatient care visits are now conducted virtually by video or phone call. This represents an average of 40,000 video visits per weekday — and our members have rated our video visits 4.5 out of 5 stars on average.

Every day we’re filling approximately 116,000 prescriptions by mail, allowing our members to receive essential prescriptions at home. Our teams have adjusted resources and services to meet the increased mail-to-home demand, which has gone from a third of all prescriptions before the pandemic to now half of all prescriptions we dispense.

To date, we ’ve administered more than 5 million diagnostic COVID-19 tests.

Kaiser Permanente has been part of 9 studies to improve our understanding of COVID-19 and develop tools to prevent and treat the disease, including clinical trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of 2 coronavirus vaccines.

Continue to protect yourself and others

We can all play a part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. We encourage you to practice healthy habits to protect yourself and others:

  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s your turn.
  • Comply with public health orders. Local and state governments may reinstate stay-at-home orders or other restrictions with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
  • If you or anyone in your family develops any of the symptoms listed below, call your doctor.
  • Wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear a mask covering their nose and mouth when in public settings. This public health measure is in addition to physical distancing, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, frequent hand-washing, and other everyday preventive actions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

And it’s not too late to get your flu shot. This flu season, more than ever, it’s critical that everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccine. While a flu shot won’t prevent you from getting COVID-19, it will protect you from the flu, a serious respiratory infection that can lead to hospitalization or even death. To make the process easy and safe for people while maintaining physical distancing, we’ve expanded the use of drive-thru and outdoor vaccination clinics at many of our medical facilities, and offer flu shots for members at retail locations for added convenience.

If you’re a member experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, please call your doctor or the number on the back of your Kaiser Permanente medical card. To learn more about COVID-19 testing, the COVID-19 vaccine, or for additional guidance, please visit kp.org.