Coronavirus Update

April 21, 2020

 

UPDATE: APRIL 21 | 9:00PM

 

IT. IS. HERE. Today may be the best day I have had in about two months. My back hurts, Chris “didn’t get” my text asking him to put the meatloaf in the oven (btw, it was prepped by me at 5 am but sat in the fridge until 7 pm,) and I had to ASK—using my words—for my slippers and a cocktail [eyeroll emoji]

 

It is a great day because TODAY we learned that Quest Diagnostics is running the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 Serology Antibody (IgG) test. Better yet, for our patients, we will be able to collect the specimens in our office starting tomorrow.

 

Shhhh. Hands down everybody, give me a second to finish.

 

This test was evaluated by the University of Washington’s virology department and found to have close to 100% sensitivity and 99% specificity. This means that if a person tests negative, they DO NOT have antibodies, therefore they are not immune (with almost 100% certainty.) It also means that if they test positive, 99% of the time the antibodies are in fact to SARS-CoV-2 and not another similar virus. (If you are not sure about the qualifications of University of Washington—it is arguably one of the best, if not the best med school in the country—sorry Harvard.)

 

Now, some caveats:

  1. The Abbott test is not FDA approved. It was authorized by the FDA under their emergency use protocols.

  2. Just because you have antibodies DOES NOT necessarily mean you are immune forever (although if this is like other SARS viruses, immunity should be lasting.)

  3. If the test is done less than 14 days after the onset of symptoms, it MAY NOT be positive.

  4. This is NOT the test to confirm an acute infection (see #3)

Practically speaking; if you know or suspect you had COVID-19 at least 14 days ago, or are asymptomatic but concerned about exposure, you are eligible for testing. This blood test must be ordered by your doctor. You cannot just show up to a Quest lab.

In our practice, the workflow WILL go like this (no exceptions, no whining, please.)

  1. Call

  2. Set up a visit (tele or in office with one of the ten of us.) We will discuss your request, discuss the implications of the test results should it be positive or negative. (If you are in the office, we can draw your blood right then.)

  3. Results WILL (not may) take at least 2-3 days. We will let you know as soon as the results are in.

  4. Quest is reporting all positive and negative results to the local and state health department.

This is such a huge and important path toward normalcy that it has literally turned my frown upside down. Quest reports that they have the ability to run 6 million tests per month (while I have not confirmed this, it seems pretty awesome.)

 

I know you have questions, and I will try my best to answer. In the meantime, please realize that the above applies to patients in OUR practice. I am not speaking for other family doctors or pediatricians with whom I may or may not share office buildings or beds. If you are inquiring about your child please ask your pediatrician directly. (One pediatrician I know gritted his teeth and looked away as I informed him about my intention to share this news tonight. He has been forewarned so...)

 

-C

 

 

UPDATE: APRIL 20 | 3:00PM

Our latest update on the Coronavirus situation including telemedicine (we've got it!) and our office (we're open!) can be found here:

https://mailchi.mp/christinemeyermd/coronavirusupdate_20april

Thank you for reading. Stay at home, and stay healthy.

 

UPDATE: APRIL 11 | 3:00PM

Our latest update on the Coronavirus situation including telemedicine (we've got it!) and our office (we're open!) can be found here:

https://mailchi.mp/christinemeyermd/coronavirusupdate_11april2020

Thank you for reading. Stay at home, and stay healthy.

 

UPDATE: APRIL 6 | 3:00PM

Our latest update on the Coronavirus situation including telemedicine (we've got it!) and our office (we're open!) can be found here:

https://mailchi.mp/christinemeyermd/coronavirusupdate_6april2020

Thank you for reading. Stay at home, and stay healthy.

 

UPDATE: MARCH 24 | 4:00PM

Our latest update on the Coronavirus situation including telemedicine (we've got it!) and our office (we're open!) can be found here:

https://mailchi.mp/christinemeyermd/coronavirusupdate_24march

Thank you for reading. Stay at home, and stay healthy.

 

UPDATE: MARCH 18 | 4:00PM

Our latest update on the Coronavirus situation, testing, telemedicine (we've got it!) and our office (we're open!) can be found here:

https://mailchi.mp/christinemeyermd/coronavirusupdate_18march

Thank you for reading!

 

UPDATE: MARCH 10 | 7:20AM

At CMMD and Associates, today we will begin implementing a series of steps (devised after consultation with various infectious disease resources and large hospital based health systems in our area) aimed at protecting our vulnerable patients while continuing to provide much needed medical attention to our community.

  • We are moving as many "same-day sick" appointments to ONE of our two buildings and enhancing our phone triage capabilities.

  • Sick and at-risk patients will be identified BEFORE their arrival in the office whenever possible or as soon as they enter, and will be asked to don a protective mask.

  • We are setting up a "drive-thru" testing area so that potential COVID-19 and influenza patients can be tested and assessed without coming into the office whenever possible.

  • We are putting "all hands on deck" when it comes to answering phones and messages. Our entire staff is poised to come in early, stay late and do whatever is needed to support our community at this time.

  • We will be instituting an enhanced cleaning protocol to include timed disinfection of common areas through out the day, and medical-grade cleaning of our exam rooms after every patient. This is in addition to the thorough cleaning we do nightly.

  • While we are available in the office 7 days per week, we are also always available by portal message and one of us is on-call whenever the office is closed.

Please be patient as some of our more "routine" operations may be disrupted as we work through this community outbreak.

 

I want our patients to know that we are here for you during this scary and uncertain time.

If at anytime you have a need that is not being met by our staff, please email christine@christinemeyermd.com or text/call me directly at 484-872-2833.

 

 

UPDATE: MARCH 8 | 9:44AM

One of the hardest things about the novel coronavirus is the inability to distinguish it from the flu--the symptoms are so very similar (fever, cough, aches.) Symptoms may be similar but there is a key difference in the behavior.

 

Patients with the flu can be contagious for 24-48 hours before ever showing symptoms. This DOES NOT appear to be the case with COVID-19---AND this is GOOD news--if we pay attention to it.

 

The bottom line is this: Containing this virus will largely depend on the people who have it.

People who STAY HOME when they are sick cannot infect others. It is that simple.

 

My plea tonight goes out to TWO groups: those who are sick with any symptoms of fever, cough, aches and anyone who is returning from one of the 5 high risk countries but is feeling well.

Asymptomatic travelers: If you are returning from Italy, China, Japan, South Korea or Iran, PLEASE self-quarantine for 14 days. You should monitor your temperature and report fever (defined as greater than 100.5) to your local health department.

 

Sick non-travelers, except for seeking medical attention, please stay home.

 

 

UPDATE: MARCH 9 | 6:14AM

While I hate to "backpedal," at this time, I would also NOT go on a cruise--anywhere. This is different than my statement in the 3/6/20 newsletter. But, information is changing by the hour. Stay tuned, stay safe and keep about your life.

 

 

MARCH 6 | 9:00AM

Everyday we're  getting the question: "What would you do, Doc?" Coronavirus is here, and we know the fear is real. But our patients also want to cut through the spin, and the anxiety-inducing news reports, and the bogus health tips, and know what real, practical things they can do to stay healthy. That makes me so proud.

 

Guided by facts, not fear, here's what I'm doing and recommending at of March 6 to stay aware, prepared, and well. Information changes hour to hour, so I'm also posting here the link to the CDC's website, which I check every morning: www.cdc.gov. I hope you will add this to your 'morning rounds' on your smartphone, to keep a pulse on COVID-19 as we learn more about it.

 

In the meantime, take off that mask, wash your hands longer and hotter... and while we wait for more details, come in for your flu shot!

-Christine & Team

 

Read my March 6th update here:

https://mailchi.mp/christinemeyermd/coronavirusupdate_6march2020

 

 

 

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