Coronavirus Update 11: COVID-19 Surveillance System

In the upcoming weeks we expect businesses to begin the slow and cautious reopening process. We are rolling out a new service for business owners and employers to provide COVID-19 surveillance for their employees. This surveillance includes employee clinical evaluation, nasal pcr and antibody testing, as well as generation of summary reports for employers to monitor their workforce closely for risk of transmission. More details are available on our Facebook page group and website.

Facebook page group: www.facebook.com/groups/covidclear

Website: www.buckheadmedicine.com/covidclear

Preference for COVID-19 surveillance services will be given to our existing patients who are business owners or employers. We value your feedback as we roll out this service.
Additionally, as you know from our previous update, last week we initiated serum antibody testing in our office. This process is going well and we are continuing to build capacity within our office to handle more COVID-19 nasal PCR and serum antibody testing for our patients. Please call the office if you wish to be tested.

Stay Well and Stay Home,

Dr. Edward Espinosa
Buckhead Medicine

Coronavirus Update 10: Serum Antibody Testing Now Available

We are now able to perform COVID-19 serum antibody testing for IgG antibodies. This test is being performed in our office and processed through Quest Diagnostics.
This test is useful in determining possible immunity against COVID-19. This blood test will check for IgG antibodies. This blood test will not check for IgM antibodies.
Please see this link for a video on details regarding serum antibody testing for COVID-19:

https://www.facebook.com/BuckheadMedicine/videos/627173091195985/

At this time we will be using telemedicine to screen patients in order to determine eligibility for antibody testing which includes:
• Positive COVID-19 nasal PCR OR
• High suspicion for COVID-19 infection despite negative nasal PCR test AND
• At least 14 days since symptom onset
Please understand that the demand for this test is high. This test is not considered an emergent or urgent test, so sick visits will take priority. Priority will be given to our existing patients.
If you meet the above criteria and you desire to be tested please call the office at 404-257-5585, to schedule a telemedicine consult to determine eligibility for testing.
Stay Well and Stay Home,
Dr. Edward Espinosa
Buckhead Medicine

Coronavirus Update 9: Continue to Shelter in Place

Thank you for all the sacrifices that you have made to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. I know this has not been easy from a personal, social and financial standpoint. But because of your efforts, to quarantine at home, the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community has been markedly reduced. Your efforts without a doubt have flattened the curve and saved lives.
This fight is not over. We must continue to shelter in place to keep transmission rates down. From a public health standpoint, the only meaningful tool that we have at this point in fighting this virus is to continue the current efforts, until we begin to see consistent reductions in new cases and death rates. If we ease restrictions early, we will undoubtedly see an increase in new cases and an increase in deaths. Because of this, we must stay the course.
Please continue to shelter in place. If you need to leave your home to gather food, medicines or for medical care, then please maintain at least 6 feet of distance between others and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Our community will be able to open in the near future. In fact, we are already seeing new case rates slow down. Our ability to test for COVID-19 naso-pharyngeal PCR in our office continues to improve. Additionally, we are expecting to have a reliable serum antibody test in our office within the next 7 to 10 days.
These are the indicators that you should be looking for as to when we will be ready to begin easing restrictions:
• The number of new COVID-19 cases shows a decreasing trend
• The number of deaths from COVID-19 shows a decreasing trend
• Sufficient, accurate testing becomes readily available for COVID-19 nasal PCR and serum antibody testing
I know this is not easy, but by doing your part you are saving lives.
Stay Well and Stay Home,
Dr. Edward Espinosa
Buckhead Medicine

Coronavirus Update 8 – Convalescent Plasma Donation

Many of you have tested positive for COVID-19 either in our office or in the hospital and now are recovering or fully recovered. For the fully recovered patients, I would like to ask for your help.
Convalescent plasma transfusion is a therapy that may help seriously ill COVID-19 infected patients. This is how it works. We take a plasma donation, much like a blood donation, from a fully recovered COVID-19 positive patient. This plasma is theoretically rich in COVID-19 antibodies. We believe these antibodies can attack and kill the COVID-19 virus. Before transfusion into the recipient patient, we test the plasma to make sure it does not contain other viruses such as HIV or hepatitis. Once cleared from other infection, the plasma is transfused into patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 infection.
Convalescent plasma transfusion is not a new therapy. It has been successfully used for many years. Specifically, it has been used in SARS, the H1N1 pandemic, Avian Flu and Ebola. We are not clear, at this point however, if it is effective against COVID-19. In certain situations, such as life-threatening illness, we are using it in the hospital to give critically ill patients a fighting chance.
Today I spoke with a Red Cross clinical representative. The Red Cross is actively seeking patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered. They are in the process of setting up this plasma donation infrastructure for the nation. If you have recovered from a COVID-19 infection, please strongly consider becoming a plasma donor.
To register, go to www.RedCrossBlood.org. Under the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program, click on the red learn more button. And then click on the plus sign next to the potential donor section. Please fill out this form to become a potential donor. If the person registering does not use the internet they can call the Red Cross Special Collections directly at 1-800-458-5093.
Thank you for your help with this effort.
Stay Well and Stay Home,
Dr. Edward Espinosa
Buckhead Medicine

5 Atlanta Medical Practices That Can Keep You Healthy From Home

Originally Published In The Atlantan

Buckhead Medicine

Board-certified internist Dr. Edward Espinosa has converted his concierge internal medicine practice, Buckhead Medicine, to focus primarily on the testing and treatment of COVID-19. A long time user of telemedicine and secure texting, his practice is now serving the Buckhead community by leveraging these technologies alongside onsite testing for coronavirus. Dr. Espinosa, and his staff that works remotely, is performing virus screening at his Buckhead office in a private outdoor setting to reduce patient exposure and transmission of COVID-19.

Concierge Psychology

Telehealth mental health offerings are available from the pros at Concierge Psychology so you don’t have to disrupt your therapy. Anxiety can be detrimental, so be sure to take care of your mental health during this time as well via phone or video sessions with these four mental health professionals.

Dermatology Associates of Georgia

Whether it’s eczema or rosacea or contact dermatitis, Dermatology Associates of Georgia wants to take care of its existing patients via telemedicine for non-procedural concerns.

Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine

Just because you’re practicing social distancing and staying home doesn’t mean you have to sidetrack your plans to have a child. Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine is seeing patients virtually. Diagnostic procedures are still ongoing in healthy patients and the physicians are taking new patients. Now is the perfect time to meet your doctor and create your plan.

Heal ATL Counseling & Wellness

Don’t let quarantine get you down—Heal ATL Counseling and Wellness is offering video sessions for both individuals and couples. Loneliness; isolation; grief; trauma—these pros can help you work through anything. Teens 14 and older are also welcome, and online services are secure and confidential.