We hope this email finds you well. We appreciate all the great feedback we’ve received regarding our weekly email outreach to you during this pandemic. We thank each of you who have shared words of encouragement to us.
We are here for you and again seeing patients in the office. We are also back to accepting new patients. We continue to do “drive-by” COVID testing for our patients only. We are treating those who are mild to moderately infected and referring to our specialists those requiring more intensive care. Those patients potentially infectious will be screened by a health care provider before entering the office. If you do come to our office, we request you bring a facial cover and maintain a 6-feet distance from others whenever possible. Everyone entering the building, including our staff, will have their temperature taken at the front door.
We are managing more cases of COVID-19 than we could ever have expected. Our team of health care providers are doing a superb job of reaching out to our COVID-19 infected patients daily on the telephone to see how they are doing. I believe we have truly kept many of our patients out of the hospital; who may have ended up there, if not for our dedicated and aggressive approach. Additionally, Med-Shop pharmacy in the building has worked hard to find hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and Zithromax to treat our patients when necessary. This COVID-19 scenario reminds me of the 1980’s when many physicians refused or did not want to treat AIDS patients, just like COVID-19 now, for a variety of reasons (some not so good). We have always offered compassionate care to those living with HIV and that decision made me become a better person and primary care physician. Our team is committed to manage your care through the COVID-19 crisis.
We continue to perform COVID-19 nasal swabs and usually get results in 1-3 days, depending on their backlog. I’m still being the “squeaky wheel” with Abbott Diagnostics to get the rapid 15-minute test kits in our office. When we get them, we will be able to give results in minutes instead of days. They will not release them to us yet, but we are not giving up hope to get them soon. It’s frustrating that we are one of the few primary care offices with the correct equipment to run these tests; but can’t get the test kits. I will not stop trying to get them as quickly as I can. I even offered to loan my equipment to a center that is testing to help them out. It’s shameful my testing platform sits idle.
I would like to explain testing for COVID-19 as it can be confusing, especially when the antibody test is expected to be released shortly. The current nasal swab test detects whether the COVID-19 virus is present in your body or not. A positive test means the virus is present in your body. A negative test means that no COVID-19 virus was found. This test can also be referred to as a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.
The antibody test should be approved by the FDA soon. Currently this antibody test is not approved for use. I’ve heard of one urgent care center doing them for $50.00 as a “drive-by”. I don’t understand how this can be and at this time I personally don’t trust it. I heard Beaumont Hospital is doing a clinical trial on the antibody test, but have no other information on that at this time. If the antibody test is positive, that means the person has had the COVID virus. The antibody test does not indicate whether or not the person currently has the virus.
The two tests combined, nasal swab (PCR) and blood antibody tests, when used together will be very useful in determining a person’s status regarding COVID. If someone is both COVID-19 antibody positive, and nasal smear (PCR) positive, that would mean they are recently infected and has not yet cleared the virus. These tests are very familiar and similar to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention programs that we have been utilizing with success for years.
Now is not the time to practice those five deadliest words “Maybe It Will Go Away”. If you have any health concerns, lets manage them early on. What we need right now, all of us, is to have plenty of compassion, kindness, gentility, patience, and smiles. Do what you can do…eat right, move around and stay active the best you can, check in on friends and family, and keep a good attitude!
To Your Good Health…We Remain