Use this weekend get some fresh air, move around, and safely enjoy yourselves. We are changing the content and amount of information in this week’s COVID-19 update. We are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel as more and more COVID-19 data is compiled. It’s a learning curve and we are beginning to open up our communities in a manner that maintains social distancing and wearing facial coverings. New therapies and vaccines are in the pharmaceutical pipeline. We have successfully flattened the curve. The question we are asked the most is, “Will there be a second COVID-19 wave in the Fall?”. No one knows for sure when or how severe a second wave may be , but we can tell you with confidence that as a society we’ve learned a lot, and will be better prepared in managing it.
We are providing healthcare both inside the office and by telemedicine as well keeping the office sanitized for everyone's protection. After hours of persuasion with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, we now have the Abbott ID Now test kits to get COVID-19 viral PCR results in a matter of minutes. We believe we are the only primary care office in the state with this capability. These tests are performed in our office. Our availability of these rapid tests is limited, so we will use this rapid test only when the situation demands it. Otherwise, we will order the COVID-19 test to Biotech Laboratory and get the results in one day. We now have a COVID-19 antibody test that that we are satisfied with regards to accuracy. We also get these results in one day. Both of these tests, the PCR and Antibody tests, are readily available to us through Biotech. If you want either of these tests, you will need to schedule an in office or tele-medical visit with us. We will evaluate this with you, and order it, when appropriate. Then, you can go to the lab in our building to get the desired test taken.
The exciting news this week is that Baxter, our official canine Be Well Medical Center greeter and Mascot, turns 11 years old Friday, May 22, 2020. He has been a valuable and dedicated employee since 2009. For the last 10 years I have posted his birthday picture on Facebook, and he has received many posts from patients. Last year, honoring his 10th birthday, I donated $2.00 for every Baxter Birthday shout out to his picture post to the Detroit Dog Rescue Society. I’m doing it again this year. Simply reply to his picture post between now and Sunday and I will donate $2.00 for each post. It’s also a good time to like our Be Well Medical Center on Facebook. This is another way to receive valuable health tips from us.
Thank you and…
To Your Good Health…We Remain
We would like to thank everyone for letting us know how much you have enjoyed our weekly COVID-19 updates. It was never our original intention to do these weekly, however after all the appreciated feedback, we will continue providing them.
We continue to function well inside the Be Well Medical Center as we settle into our new normal. How long this will last is anyone’s guess. We have staggered our scheduling of patients and there is seldom the chance that you will share the reception room waiting to enter an exam room.
Telemedicine has reduced the need for every visit to take place inside our office, and this has helped us maintain separation and distancing. Everyone, wherever you are, needs to use common sense. Wear facial coverings and keep about six-feet distance from others. We will get through this. It’s interesting that in many countries they have used facial protection for years, and don’t give any second thought to this. Our culture may evolve to this as being normal as well.
This week, we would like to refer you to a quality newsletter that Medical Diagnostic Laboratories (MDL) sent to our office. They are the reference lab we use for certain laboratory testing, including COVID-19 nasal swabs. Their COVID-19 newsletter is one of the best we have come across. It’s very complete, well written, understandable, and covers many different aspects about COVID-19 in an apolitical manner. If you are interested here is the link:
In next week’s newsletter we will discuss and provide you with information on donating your plasma if you have had COVID-19. This may be useful to those that currently have COVID-19 and those who have recovered from it wanting to help others.
In the meantime, continue your Patience, Compassion, Gentility, Kindness, and Smiles!
To Your Good Health… We Remain
We hope everyone is doing as well as can be during these unusual times. We are okay inside the Be Well Medical Center. We are seeing patients at the office and by telemedical visits every day. We have still suspended evening clinics through the month of May. Some patients have stated that they don’t want to call and bother us, since we are so busy. That is not necessary, and I want you to know that we are here and available to you. Please wear a facial covering if you come to the office. We will take your temperature and complete a respiratory questionnaire before allowing you entrance into the building.
Tensions around the world appears to be on the rise. We need more gentility, kindness, compassion, and smiles right now. We are making significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. Remdesivir, an intravenous medication developed by Gilead, has just been authorized by the FDA to treat severe COVID-19. It has been shown to reduce the number of days of hospitalization. This is very significant!
The new COVID-19 antibody test by Roche is now approved. It is 99.8% accurate, and the one I have been waiting for. Now, we can discuss antibody testing knowing we have a good test to use. Antibody testing is not for everyone, but it can give useful information. Antibody testing will become more and more useful in the near future.
COVID-19 is a virus that causes inflammation, generally, but not limited to the respiratory system. Inflammation is bad and is the cause of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as well as other diseases. We need to do what we can to reduce inflammation inside our body for maintaining the best health possible. Good medical treatment and control of all seemingly unrelated medical ailments are important in reducing inflammation. We don’t want the COVID-19 virus to be “the straw that brakes the camel’s back” when it comes to inflammation in your body. If you are prescribed medications to treat hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, or anything else, make sure you take them as instructed to keep your body’s inflammation in check.
Other things I can suggest to help reduce inflammation are the following:
Although not specifically approved or indicated for COVID-19 protection, I recommend Vitamin D at over the counter strength. Some studies have shown that low Vitamin D levels in COVID-19 patients is associated with a higher mortality. Also, Vitamin C is an antioxidant and can reduce inflammation. Turmeric has been reported to reduce inflammation as well. Like anything else, the more layers of protection you take to reduce inflammation, the better off you may be.
I’ve recently heard that people who have recovered from COVID-19 may be at a higher risk for getting blood clots. This is not age or time specific. The use of low dose aspirin can be discussed as a measure to prevent this. This is an off-label recommendation.
Please be creative and safe in celebrating this year’s Mother’s Day!
To Your Good Health…We Remain
I believe we may have turned the corner regarding COVID-19 and life should hopefully be beginning to get better. Spring is in the air and it’s starting to blossom outside. We recommend you take the opportunity to safely spend some time outdoors. Take some deep breaths and increase your physical activity. These simple activities can clear your mind and energize your body.
We have seen so many patients come into the office with symptoms of “cabin-fever.” The isolating COVID measures that were put into place for our well-being, had many unintended, but expected consequences. Patients are coming in with many stress related disorders, including chest discomfort and shortness of breath. However, simply by coming in — getting evaluated, perhaps getting an EKG or chest x-ray, and talking with us — gave them reassurance and made them feel better. For many, that was all they needed.
Intervention with telephone calls and video tele-visits let us practice the “art of medicine” remotely. We remain open during this pandemic and request you bring your own facial covering when coming to the office. We are still doing “drive-by” COVID-19 screening and taking temperatures and symptom checks at the front door before allowing you entrance inside our building. These actions protect our patients and staff.
COVID-19 has been very personal for us too. Caleb Youngblood, PA-C, AAHIVS, was infected, as well as four other Be Well staff members. Everyone has fully recovered and are back to work. Caleb has taken a particular interest in COVID-19. He keeps us updated all the time and has become our “local expert.” He is antibody positive — we will explain what that means later on. He contributed substantially to this update. Also, he is working from home doing telemedical visits, until he fully recovered. We all appreciate Caleb so much. All of our staff are heroes!
There has been much discussion surrounding testing for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus we commonly refer to as COVID-19. We want to make sure that the different types of testing are clear to you.
Using a combination of testing mentioned above we can get a good sense of whether or not people ARE infected with COVID-19, RECENTLY infected, or if they have NEVER had it. The combination of these tests is useful. They help us take the necessary steps to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 and to eventually return to some resemblance of “normalcy”. It is important to understand that any one test can not tell the entire story. Antibody tests have been on the news lately. Antibody tests can not predict, nor were they designed to, identify whether or not a person is contagious to others.
The swab test looking for the virus itself was the first test that came into existence. It is pretty much standardized and accurate. The antibody tests are currently coming to market with emergency authorization from the FDA for use. It has been reported that these tests may not be as accurate as we would like them to be at the present time. They will get better in time. Medicine is not an exact science. Scientific truths constantly change with new information. Determining what test(s) to perform needs to be individually considered. Antibody tests, at this time, may be more reasonable for research or epidemiology studies of a population's rate of COVID-19 infection.
Every situation is different and we are here to determine what the best choice is for you when it comes to ordering tests. It has yet to be determined if you are antibody IgG positive, how long or how effective that immunity would be. Immunity from other COVID type infections is usually about 4-5 months. Some antibodies last a lifetime. Until there is a vaccination or data demonstrating lifetime immunity having the IgG antibodies, whether you are antibody positive or not, you need to practice universal precautions as discussed in our last update to protect yourself.
There have been some new symptoms added to the original list of fever, cough, and shortness of breath for COVID-19 to be on watch for. We’ve often seen these new associated symptoms in our patients. They include: loss of taste and/or smell, body aches, headaches, fatigue, shaking, chills, and blue fingers or toes.
Take care of yourselves and those around you. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask us. Also…reach out to your friends and family. Let them know how you are doing and ask the same of them.
To Your Good Health… We Remain