Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

Please choose from the topics below to learn more about COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine • COVID-19 TestingAntibody TestingAntigen TestingTravel & Visitors During the Pandemic •  ProtectionExposures & QuarantineComing to InterMed


COVID Vaccine

Vaccine Availability • About the VaccinePediatric PatientsWomen and the VaccineAfter the Vaccine •  Billing and Insurance

COVID Vaccine: Vaccine Availability

When will InterMed have a COVID-19 vaccine available for patients?

Most Mainers will likely receive one of the vaccines currently in trial, probably in late spring or early summer. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines recently approved by the FDA are in very short supply. At this time, vaccine availability is limited to healthcare workers and emergency responders, and Maine’s most vulnerable residents, such as Mainers living in nursing facilities.

Maine is generally following the vaccine priority recommendations from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group who expanded eligibility of the COVID vaccine to individuals 65 and older.

The Maine CDC announced its plan to expand COVID vaccine eligibility criteria to phase 1b starting on January 18, 2021 based on the availability of vaccine. Phase 1b includes patients age 70 and over.

Second phase, referred to as “1b” by the CDC is vaccinating:

  • Persons 70 and older
  • Adults with high-risk medical conditions

Third phase, referred to as “1c” by the CDC is vaccinating:

  • Other essential workers. The specific types of workers in this category have not yet been defined

InterMed’s vaccination plan:

  • Because the elderly are at the highest risk for death from COVID-19 infection and because of limited allocation of vaccine, we are focusing our preliminary efforts on patients 80 years old and older. We will continue to expand our eligibility as we receive allocation.
  • We will be outreaching directly to our patients when it is their turn to receive a vaccine, based on the Maine CDC’s phased approach. Please do not call to schedule an appointment for a vaccine until you receive outreach from our office instructing you to do so.

I am 83 and a patient of InterMed, how will I know when it is my turn to be vaccinated?

We will contact our patients who meet the eligibility criteria based on the availability of vaccine. Please do not call our offices. We will call or email you directly to schedule your vaccine.

I am 65, and the U.S. CDC says I am eligible, so why can’t I get a vaccine?

The guidance from the Maine CDC is that we will be opening to patients age 70+. Because age is the single most important predictor of mortality from COVID-19 infection and because we receive a limited allocation of vaccine on a weekly basis, we are focusing our efforts on patients 80 years of age and older during the week of January 18. We will continue to expand our eligibility as we receive allocation.

I am over 70 but not a patient of InterMed. Can I get my vaccine?

Because our allocation of vaccine is so limited, we are unable to offer vaccine to non-InterMed patients who are not patient facing health care personnel.

How will InterMed prioritize who gets offered the vaccine first?

InterMed will follow distribution guidelines consistent with the CDC and Maine’s Vaccination Plan. Given limited supplies of the vaccine, there will be a phased rollout of the vaccine. In time, all patients will be offered the vaccine. Eligible patients will be notified via patient communication. Patients do not need to call the office routinely to monitor their eligibility. Please make sure your contact information on file with your primary care provider is current including mailing address, phone number(s), and e-mail address.

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COVID Vaccine: About the Vaccine

Where is the vaccine clinic?

225 Gorham Road, South Portland. Enter the building via the doors closest to Foden Road. Look for the InterMed vaccine clinic sign on the exterior awning. Please note that the Vaccine Clinic is by appointment only.

Which vaccine will I receive?

Depending upon the vaccine supply allocated to InterMed, you may receive either the Pfizer and Moderna. Both vaccines are equally effective, and you could receive either vaccine when you arrive at the clinic.

I only want to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Because we are trying to vaccinate our patients as efficiently as possible to keep them healthy, we cannot accommodate vaccine requests. We are using both vaccine brands regularly in the clinic and your dose will be entirely dependent on availability at the time of your appointment.

What is known about the vaccine’s side effects?

Common side effects include pain, swelling, or redness in the arm where you got the shot. You may experience chills, tiredness, or headache. These side effects usually start within a day or two of getting the vaccine. They might feel like flu symptoms and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but will go away in a few days. For more safety information, refer to the federal CDC’s Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine resources.

Should patients with autoimmune conditions or immunocompromised patients receive the vaccine?

Individuals with autoimmune conditions or patients who are immunocompromised may receive COVID-19 vaccination if they have no contraindications to vaccination. Patients should contact their primary care provider to discuss their specific situation ahead of receiving the vaccine. Patient’s should continue to follow all guidelines to protect themselves against COVID-19, which includes wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and staying at least 6 feet away from others.

I got the COVID-19 vaccine outside InterMed, does my primary care provider need to know?

Yes. Please contact your primary care provider to let them know which vaccine you received and the dates of dose 1 and dose 2. This is important for your primary care provider to know in the event that follow-up is needed such as scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine booster at a future date.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The current recommendation advises that those who have already had COVID-19 still be vaccinated. While natural infection gives some degree of immunity, it does not give full protection.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I recently received a different vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine series should be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration with other vaccines.

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COVID Vaccine: Pediatric Patients

Should pediatric patients receive the vaccine?

No trials have begun yet in the United States to determine whether these vaccines are safe and effective for children. The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in individuals 16 years and older and the Moderna vaccine for use in individuals 18 years and older.

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COVID Vaccine: Women and the Vaccine

Should patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding receive the vaccine?

The American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that the vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant or lactating women who qualify for vaccination, especially if they work in a particularly high risk setting. None of the trials on the vaccine included pregnant or lactating women so there is currently no clear safety data for this population.

Should patients actively trying to become pregnant or contemplating pregnancy receive the vaccine?

The American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends non-pregnant individuals seek vaccination. Further, ACOG recommends vaccination of individuals who are actively trying to become pregnant or are contemplating pregnancy and meet the criteria for vaccination based on CDC prioritization recommendations. Additionally, it is not necessary to delay pregnancy after completing both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?

Given the mechanism of action and the safety profile of the vaccine in non-pregnant individuals, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility.

What happens if I become pregnant between doses or shortly after receiving the vaccine?

If a patient becomes pregnant after the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine series, the second dose should be administered as indicated. If an individual receives a COVID-19 vaccine and becomes pregnant within 30 days of receipt of the vaccine, participation in the CDC’s V-SAFE program should be encouraged.

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COVID Vaccine: After the Vaccine

If I receive the vaccine can I stop wearing a mask and avoiding close contact with others?

Everybody should continue to follow all precautions, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not, which includes wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.

What is V-SAFE?

V-safe is a smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker offered by the federal CDC for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe uses text messaging and web surveys from CDC to check in with vaccine recipients following COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also provides second vaccine dose reminders if needed, and telephone follow up to anyone who reports medically significant (important) adverse events. To learn more, visit the CDC’s resources for V-safe, or to sign up, visit V-safe.

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COVID Vaccine: Billing and Insurance

How much will the vaccine cost?

The COVID vaccine will be provided to patients at no cost. However, there will be a vaccine administration fee charged to the patient. The Moderna vaccine administration CPT code for dose 1 is 0011A and 0012A for dose 2 and is $71 per dose administered. The Pfizer vaccine administration CPT code for dose 1 is 0001A and 0002A for dose 2 and is $71 per dose administered. Since the COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose series the vaccine administration fee will be charged for each separate dose. Coverage varies by insurer. Please contact your insurance company to discuss your plan’s coverage.

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COVID-19 Testing

What types of COVID testing does InterMed offer?

InterMed offers PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 testing, which is the most sensitive (fewest false negatives) test for the detection of COVID-19. This test is appropriate for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. The sample is collected via nasal swab.

InterMed also offers Abbott ID NOW rapid testing, a test that provides reliable results in 15-30 minutes in appropriately selected patients with symptoms. This is a viral RNA detection (not antigen) test, which is less sensitive (has more false negatives) than the PCR test. When used in symptomatic patients this test is very effective in rapidly determining a patient’s COVID-19 status. The sample is collected via nasal swab.

If your provider has a high suspicion that you may have COVID-19 but results from the Abbott ID NOW rapid test are negative, the provider may request repeating the nasal swab and testing with the more sensitive PCR.

Will my insurance cover COVID-19 testing?

Coverage varies by insurer. Please contact your insurance company to discuss your plan’s coverage. The CPT code for both types of COVID-19 testing is 87635.

How much does COVID-19 cost me if my insurance does not cover it?

COVID-19 testing costs $118 per test for either PCR or Abbott ID NOW rapid test.

Who can get tested at InterMed for COVID-19?

The current spike of COVID-19 cases in Maine necessitates that we prioritize COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients and patients who are frontline healthcare workers or first responders with close contact to a known COVID-19 positive individual. InterMed is unable to test patients seeking travel clearance or returning to Maine who want to avoid quarantine. If you need travel related testing the State maintains a website with locations that accommodate travel related testing requests.

Where do I go for my InterMed testing appointment?

100 Foden Road, South Portland. Testing is a conducted via a drive-through setup. Please note that testing is by appointment only.

When will I find out my test results?

Abbott ID NOW rapid test results are known within 15-30 minutes of the test.

PCR test result turnaround time can be highly variable. Typically results are available within 6 days from the test date, however, when demand increases the turnaround time can be longer. At the time of your COVID-19 test appointment, you will be informed of the expected turnaround for your test results. Turnaround testing varies based on the processing lab (examples include the Maine State lab, Quest, NorDx, and InterMed’s in-house lab), the type of COVID-19 test ordered, and the number of tests in queue for processing. All of the labs that we use are working as efficiently as possible to process COVID-19 tests in a timely manner. Please refer to the expected turnaround provided during your InterMed COVID-19 test appointment to determine when your test results should be available.

How will I be notified of my test results?

Abbott ID NOW rapid test results are shared with the patient at the time of your appointment. Otherwise, your primary care provider’s office will call you or release your results via the MyInterMed patient portal. To login or sign-up for MyInterMed, visit the patient portal.

Why have my friend’s COVID results come back but mine have not?

Turnaround testing varies based on the processing lab (examples include the Maine State lab, Quest, NorDx, and InterMed’s in-house lab), the type of COVID-19 test ordered, and the amount of tests in queue for processing. All labs across the country are working as efficiently as possible to process COVID-19 tests in a timely manner. Please refer to the expected turnaround provided during your InterMed COVID-19 test appointment to determine when your test results should be available.

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Antibody Testing

Can I get COVID antibody testing at InterMed and what does the test mean?

Yes, InterMed offers antibody testing to patients. Antibody tests blood tests can detect antibodies to this coronavirus. If you have a positive test, it means that you likely had contact with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This test can also be positive due to other coronaviruses (such as certain cold viruses) that you may have had in the past. Having antibodies to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 might provide some protection from being infected with the virus again. If it does, we do not know how much protection the antibodies might provide or how long this protection might last. Confirmed and suspected cases of reinfection have been reported but seem to be rare. You should continue to protect yourself and others since you could get infected with the virus again.

Will my insurance cover COVID-19 antibody testing?

Coverage varies by insurer. Please contact your insurance company to discuss details of your plan’s coverage. The CPT code for COVID-19 antibody testing is 86769 and the associated blood draw CPT code is 36415 (Venipuncture).

How much does antibody testing cost out of pocket if my insurance does not cover it?

The antibody test costs $45 out of pocket and the associated blood draw costs $9 out of pocket.

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Antigen testing

Can I get COVID antigen testing at InterMed and what does the test mean?

InterMed does not currently offer antigen testing. Antigen tests are a nasal swab sample that looks for antigens specific to COVID-19 which may tell if you have a current infection. Antigen tests are generally less sensitive than PCR tests which means a higher chance of a false negative test results. InterMed continually reassesses the utility of different test methods to determine the best tests to offer to our patients to meet their needs.

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Travel & visitors during the pandemic

I have out of town guests coming to visit that are not InterMed patients. Where do I advise they go for testing?

InterMed only offers COVID-19 testing to our patients. However, the State maintains a website with locations that provide COVID-19 tests free of charge to people who feel they need one, even without an order from a provider.

I have upcoming travel scheduled. Should I cancel? Can I get tested at InterMed upon my return to Maine?

We strongly encourage you to avoid travel, as it increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Do not travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. If you must travel, refer to the CDC’s guide for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current spike of COVID-19 cases in Maine necessitates that we prioritize COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients and patients who are frontline healthcare workers or first responders with close contact to a known COVID-19 positive individual. InterMed is unable to test patients seeking travel clearance or returning to Maine who want to avoid quarantine. If you need travel related testing the State maintains a website with locations that accommodate travel related testing requests.

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Protection

My child attends in-person daycare or school. How do I best protect them from COVID-19 in these group settings?

Recommend your child wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, stay at least 6 feet from other people, and wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. Children under the age of 2 years old are not recommended to wear a mask. For more information, refer to the CDC’s guidance on how to protect yourself & others.

Should I be wearing a N-95 instead of a cloth mask or paper mask?

Please do not wear masks intended for healthcare providers such as N-95 respirators unless you work in the healthcare industry and have been properly fit-tested to wear a N-95 mask. Refer to the CDC’s guidelines on how to select, wear, and clean your mask.

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Exposures & Quarantine

Who is considered a close contact to someone with COVID-19?

A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

What should I do if I have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19? Should I get tested for COVID-19 and if so, when should I get tested?

  • Stay home for 10 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19 and continue to monitor for symptoms for an additional 4 days. Speak with your employer about options to quarantine at work if you remain asymptomatic.
  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, contact your InterMed primary care provider immediately.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at increased risk for getting COVID-19.

You should seek testing if you had a close contact exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual even if you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. The timing of when you seek testing depends on the type of COVID-19 test being performed. It is important to know that there are different types of COIVD-19 tests available and their intended purpose and ability to detect COVID-19 varies. For asymptomatic patients, the following testing guidelines should be followed:

  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing is advised given that it is the most sensitive (fewest false negatives) test for the detection of COVID-19. PCR testing should be conducted 5-7 days after close contact exposure. If symptoms develop, seek testing immediately.
  • Antigen testing provides diagnosis of an active COVID-19 infection faster than PCR tests as it is usually offered as a rapid test. But, antigen tests have a higher chance of missing an active infection. If an antigen test shows a negative result indicating that you do not have an active COVID-19 infection, a PCR test may be advised to confirm the result. Antigen testing should be performed 5 days after close contact exposure. If symptoms develop, seek testing immediately.

While you wait for test results, you should stay home and away from others for 10 days after your last contact with the COVID-19 positive person and continue to monitor for symptoms for an additional 4 days. Even if you have a negative test you should complete the quarantine after your last contact with the COVID-19 positive person. This is because symptoms can take 2-14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.

My child’s daycare or school notified us that a classmate within their classroom tested positive for COVID-19. Should my child be tested for COVID-19?

If your child is symptomatic contact their InterMed primary care provider to arrange for testing. If your child is asymptomatic, be alert for symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

If I had potential exposure to someone with COVID-19, but I am asymptomatic, can I visit elderly family members in person?

It is not advised that you visit older adults or people with certain medical conditions for 14-days from the date of exposure as a precaution since symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

Am I at risk if I go to a funeral or visitation service for someone who died of COVID-19?

There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19. However, you may be at risk of getting COVID-19 if you attend a funeral where there are multiple people congregating. For more information about what you can do to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19 during these services, and to help cope with the loss of a loved one, refer to the CDC’s funeral guidance.

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Coming to InterMed

I have an upcoming in-person appointment scheduled but do not feel comfortable coming to the office. Can I switch to a telehealth visit?

Yes, please call the provider you are scheduled with to discuss options for a telehealth visit.

How is InterMed ensuring that the offices are being adequately cleaned to maintain a safe environment for patients?

Patient and staff safety has always been a top priority for InterMed. InterMed strictly follows the CDC’s recommended infection prevention and control practices and throughout the day high touch surfaces (doorknobs, elevator buttons, waiting room chairs, etc.) are disinfected. Additionally, as added measures to maintain a safe environment for all patients and staff InterMed has made modifications to its facilities to promote physical distancing, conduct health screenings on all patients and staff at the time of their arrival, and COVID-19 patients are evaluated and treated separately from others.

If I traveled outside Maine and feel fine can I still come to InterMed for my in-person appointment?

In accordance with the State’s Keep Maine Healthy plan, Maine residents are required to quarantine for 10 days or utilize a negative test result within 72 hours of arriving to Maine as an alternative if they are returning from a state not on the “safe state list.” However, during this time it is still important to look after yourself which includes seeking medical care. Though COVID-19 may change the way you receive healthcare services at InterMed, it is important for your health that your care does not lapse or stop.

  • If you are returning from a state on the “safe state list”, you are exempt from Maine’s 10 day quarantine requirement and may come to InterMed for an in-person appointment as long as you are asymptomatic. You must always remain masked.
  • If you are returning from a state not on the “safe state list” and you have a negative test result within 72 hours of arriving to Maine, you may come to InterMed for an in-person appointment. You must always remain masked.
  • If you are returning from a state not on the “safe state list” and are within the 10-day quarantine period without a negative test result you may come to InterMed for an in-person appointment as long you are asymptomatic. You must always remain masked. Please call InterMed if you have an appointment scheduled as telehealth may be option for your upcoming visit.
  • If you are returning from any state and are symptomatic, you may either be seen via telehealth or in person at InterMed’s Acute Care Clinic. When visiting the Acute Care Clinic, you must always remain masked. Do not delay in contacting InterMed to seek medical treatment if you return to Maine and require medical attention from your healthcare provider.

If I am asymptomatic but have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or considered a “patient under investigation” pending their results, can I still come in for my appointment?

If you are asymptomatic but had known close contact to someone who has COVID-19 you may only come to the InterMed office for an Acute Care Clinic visit. This restriction is removed once you have completed the 10 day quarantine from your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. After completing the quarantine you must continue to monitor for symptoms for an additional 4 days. You may enter any InterMed office location during the 4 day monitoring period as long as you are symptom free. If you have an appointment scheduled within your 10 day quarantine period not at the Acute Care Clinic, contact InterMed to discuss options for a telehealth visit or to reschedule for after the completion of your 10 day quarantine. This is because symptoms can take 2-14 days to appear after exposure to the virus and we are working hard to maintain a safe, COVID-19 free environment for all patients, providers, and staff.

Can I still be seen by a provider if I have any symptoms of sickness?

Yes. InterMed offers telehealth visits as well as in-person visits at our Acute Care Clinic, which is equipped to safely treat sick patients. If you are scheduled for a visit and develop symptoms prior to your scheduled appointment, contact your provider’s office to discuss options for your upcoming visit.

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