COVID-19 updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

COVID-19 Vaccination Registration for Sarasota & Manatee Counties

Visit these helpful links to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Please note, you may register at either site regardless of your town of residence.

Sarasota County

Manatee County:   

Text Registration
You may also register to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination by sending a text message.

Simply text “FLCOVID19” to this number: 888777

You will receive a text reply asking for your zip code and e-mail address. Upon your response, you will be added to a list and then contacted to schedule a vaccine.

Dec 10, 2020 – Covid Update 

Covid Testing- Rapid test vs PCR?? Rapid testing has become the most available and widespread test for detection of Covid (Coronavirus). The test is simple, inexpensive, and results usually back in less than 60 minutes. However, it is much less sensitive for detection of virus and thus has a higher rate of false negative results. This test is most accurate when testing symptomatic patients, and less sensitive as a widespread screen in those feeling well. Remember, a negative test today can become positive by tomorrow, so do not let your defenses down and assume all is well on the basis of one negative test, especially a rapid test. PCR testing is more sensitive and more likely to be accurate, even in asymptomatic patients. It too, can still miss some cases, so please remember to be cautious and re-test if your symptoms suggest Covid, even with one negative test.

The drawback to the PCR test is the need for it to be sent off and results can take 2-7 days before they are back. If you are symptomatic and awaiting results, please quarantine and assume it is positive until you hear back. And remember, please call your doctor at LernerCohen if you are unwell.

Vaccines for Covid???

We are all very excited and anxious about the upcoming vaccines that should be available to help prevent the infection with Covid. There are a number of different vaccines that should become available, and as of now we believe they all have similar efficacy and should all be safe. We know there have been a very small number of allergic reactions to the vaccine, so for those who have had severe, life threatening allergic reactions to medicines, or vaccines, please check with your physician before receiving a shot.

It is unclear if the vaccines will be available in physicians offices, pharmacies, hospitals or if the state will set up centers to vaccinate. Please stay tuned to our website ( as we will update this as we learn more. We certainly hope to see most people receive the vaccine. Interesting data suggest that those who received a FLU vaccine in 2020 have some protection against severe infection from Covid. So, if you have yet to get a flu shot, please do so as soon as possible.

April 21, 2020 – Covid-19 Update
  1. There remains NO proven treatment for Covid-19, though many are being tested, both in Sarasota and elsewhere.
  2. Prevention remains your best choice – social isolation, frequent prolonged handwashing, and constant diligence to avoid putting your hands near your face, except in home after a good handwashing. There are NO supplements or medicines to take as a preventative.
  3. A vaccine will be the best long-term hope, but it is probably 12 months before one will be available for mass use.
  4. At SMH, trials are ongoing to help determine if plasma infusion from recovered patients is helpful, and a trial using IV drug remdesivir (previously used for Ebola treatment) for critically ill patients is also underway.
  5. Testing is still limited for diagnosing Covid-19. The best test is available at SMH ER for appropriate, ill patients, with a turnaround time of 45 minutes. Sarasota County, Passport Health, and a few other limited sites have intermittent testing with a 3- to 7-day turnaround time.
  6. Testing for antibodies is just beginning. This will help to determine who has had exposure/infection and who MAY have immunity. It is unknown how long the immunity will last, and most available tests at this time are NOT FDA approved and are of uncertain reliability. Stay tuned to hear when a reliable test is easily available.
  7. LernerCohen Healthcare has now treated a number of patients with Covid-19, paying careful attention to the safety of ourselves and our office, staff, and patients. One patient remains in SMH, all others are currently at home improved and recuperating well.
  8. Hydration, rest, and acetaminophen are the initial recommended treatments for mild Covid-19 cases.
  9. A pulse oximeter, which can usually be purchased at any pharmacy for $30-$40, is a nice tool, in addition to a thermometer, to have at home. This allows easy measurement of oxygen levels, which aid in proper care of the Covid-19 patient. If you cannot find this locally, many online sources are available.
  10. If you feel ill or have any questions or concerns, remember – WE ARE HERE! The LernerCohen Healthcare office has remained open throughout this time. Please call us!

Top 10 Things We Are Doing to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

  1. Wearing masks when seeing patients and interacting closer than 6 ft.
  2. Practicing extreme handwashing, as always, before and after contact and multiple times a day. We provide all visitors and patients hand gel and foam for use while in our office.
  3. Suspended all pharmaceutical rep and sales rep visits.
  4. Taking temperature checks upon arrival of each employee and doctor.
  5. Removed snacks from non-waiting areas and providing disposable cups for water.
  6. Removed magazines and books from the waiting area. Please bring reading materials with you.
  7. Minimizing the volume of people in our office at one time by scheduling staggered appointments.
  8. Disinfecting common areas and exam rooms and personal spaces multiple times a day.
  9. Holding daily meetings to keep each other updated on new data.
  10. Strictly screening all incoming calls for in-office appointment requests to confirm not currently exhibiting symptoms of Coronavirus.

March 23, 2020 – Remember, frequent handwashing, social isolation, and trying hard to not put your hands to your face remain the best preventative measures we have to avoid this virus.

Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and azithromycin remain EXPERIMENTAL as treatments for Coronavirus and should not be assumed to be an effective treatment or preventative medicine. The decision to take either of these two medicines should be made after a thoughtful evaluation by your physician, although at this time hydroxychloroquine is not readily available in Sarasota, other than at the hospitals.

Loss of taste or smell may be a previously unrecognized symptom of this disease. Please notify your doctor if you develop this as a new problem.

Most patients with Coronavirus infection will not need hospitalization. The primary reasons for needing hospitalization are severe shortness of breath with low oxygen levels or dehydration requiring IV fluids.

A pulse oximeter can be purchased at most pharmacies relatively inexpensively. This is helpful to have at home and easy to use to measure the oxygen content in your system.

We remain open for our patients. We are screening calls so that no one with fever or symptoms suggestive of Coronavirus come to the office. We remain available for all, either by telephone evaluations, ER visits or hospital visits. Please feel free to call us for any questions or concerns.

Your mental health remains a vital concern to us. Please remember to get daily exercise, either by walking, bicycling, swimming or using a home gym. Alcoholism, depression, and anxiety are going to rise. Please be aware and try to protect against this.

Please do not use a communal gym such as in a condo or fitness club, and we recommend you do not work with a personal trainer who may have multiple clients and who could be a source of infection. Speak to your trainer about a virtual workout with them on Skype or Facetime.

Nail and Hair salons should be avoided. Again, there is so much potential for the virus to be passed on, we do not feel this is a risk worth taking. A bad hair day is better than a Coronavirus infection.

March 13, 2020 – Coronavirus is a new and unique virus. Currently, there are no vaccines available for protection.

  • There are no available antibiotics or antivirals for treatment.
  • The virus is spread from person to person by respiratory droplets that can survive for up to 24 hours on solid surfaces.
  • Bleach or other solutions that contain at least 60% alcohol will kill this virus.
  • Masks are not likely to prevent you from becoming infected. They may help you reduce the chance of you spreading it to someone else.
  • People older than 65 and those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, COPD, heart disease, chemotherapy are the most susceptible to getting severely ill from this virus.
  • Social distancing, frequent handwashing and avoidance of crowds help to reduce one’s chance of becoming infected with this virus.
  • There is currently NO easily accessed test in Sarasota County to determine if you have the virus.
  • Hospitalized patients at Sarasota Memorial Hospital with appropriate symptoms can be tested for this disease.
  • If you have significant temperature elevation, chest pain, shortness of breath or significant cough, you should contact your physician. If appropriate, you may be referred to the emergency room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Please do not come to our office with these symptoms.
  • Currently, we are recommending all international travel be canceled unless absolutely necessary.
  • If traveling by air, frequent handwashing before, during and after travel with soap and water is mandatory. Do not eat or drink anything while in flight, as hand to mouth transmission is the most common way of becoming infected.
  • Please continue to check our website for updates as new information becomes available and new recommendations become needed.