I hope you are all doing well in this unique time. I have some important information.
While staying home for so long can be challenging, it is very important to help minimize the outbreak in our communities. It is truly our moral duty to stay home for the sake of those at most risk, as I conveyed in a recent television interview. But there are also many cases of the young and healthy succumbing to coronavirus. So it is in everyone’s interest to socially distance and practice strict germ hygiene when you must go out in public. People can have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all and still be spreading the virus.
The number of cases in our area is growing, but not exponentially yet, as local governments did take action fairly quickly to close public gathering places. It is important that we continue aggressive measures to contain it now to save lives and avoid overwhelming our hospitals with patients in need of ventilator support.
Up until now, our practice has been unable to obtain the medical supplies necessary to conduct in-person evaluations of potential COVID-19 cases. However, there is progress being made. I have a handful of the nasopharyngeal testing kits, and was able to piece together a few personal protective outfits from donated equipment and home renovation supplies. Our practice is expecting supplies to arrive soon to enable the other doctors to also safely perform evaluations and testing.
Given the shortage of nasal testing kits, the high risk posed to healthcare workers during the nasal collection process, and the fact that it takes 4 to 7 days to get results, it is not an ideal tool. I have ordered a batch of newly available rapid coronavirus screening kits, which use blood instead of a respiratory swab. These were previously only authorized for research use. The emergency regulations that were passed now make this 5 minute blood test available directly to doctors. The manufacturer has estimated that they will ship them from California on April 6th, so we anticipate being able to offer rapid fingerstick testing soon after.
We will delineate the testing procedure in detail before testing appointments, but the preferred method would be drive-up testing to minimize exposure of our doctors. The patient would remain in the car and simply put one hand out the window for a brief fingerstick. If you are homebound, your doctor will be able to test at your front door while remaining outside.
I am aware that many of your friends and family may have lost jobs, lost insurance, may not have a PCP, or even if they do, they may not have access to them by telemedicine the way you have access to our practice. If they need a one-time telemedicine consultation, you can share with them this specific registration link:
We are happy to help them with urgent needs like COVID-19 symptom screening, short term medication renewals (non-narcotic), or triaging other acute needs. Patients can be located anywhere our doctors hold medical licenses: Virginia, DC, Maryland, Texas, or Arizona. Due to emergency waivers, we are temporarily also able to provide telemedicine to patients in the following states: California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.
After registering for the one-time visit, they can schedule the consult via the website HERE
That’s all for now. I will keep you updated as things change. Be safe, be kind, and be generous in this challenging time.