Here is another update to try to keep you as informed as possible.
For two weeks now, we have been actively testing for and treating COVID-19 infection in our office. Primarily we are focused on patients with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or diarrhea. We are also testing frontline healthcare workers with symptoms or with exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient. Please call the office if you need to be evaluated for testing based on the above criteria. A telemedicine visit will be performed before all COVID-19 testing to ensure testing is indicated.
We are now using the new rapid Roche test for COVID-19 testing. These are being processed through Quest or Labcorp and we expect the turnaround time to maintain around 48 hours from swab to when we receive the results. Please note we do not have the testing equipment in-house for the Roche test, the test is processed at Quest or Labcorp, so the turnaround time will not be 15 minutes as reported in the news.
I am constantly reviewing available treatment options including hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, plasma transfusions, HIV medications, anti-viral medications and interferon beta. Additionally, I am in constant communication with Infectious Disease Specialist, Pulmonologists, Cardiologists and Rheumatologists regarding to benefits and limitations of these medications. Many of these therapies are already being used in hospitals when clinically appropriate. These are not currently available or indicated for prophylaxis, prevention, or “just in case” therapies. Please understand that I will guide you through this and advise you when you would need these medications and at this point it would be indicated in the hospital setting only. I ask you to trust me and my clinical judgement on this decision.
Home essentials if you become ill
Please see previous posts for recommendations on what you may need at home for caring for yourself or an ill family member in update 6. Please also note that I have updated recommendations for update 6 and these updates can be seen on our Facebook page. I also want to ad the following essential items for the home, if possible. Please have an oral or ear thermometer at home to measure and monitor your temperature if you begin to have symptoms. I also would like you to have a fingertip pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels and heart rate if you begin to have symptoms and to monitor your progress if you become infected with COVID-19. The brand of the ear thermometer or pulse oximeter is not critical. Online availability for both may be limited but take your time in purchasing, they will be restocked soon. You will only benefit from these if you become infected, ill and I need to monitor your progress. Please do not purchase many of these. You only need one of each in the home.
If you have not already done so please download our OhMD app and Vsee app. Both these apps are free to you. Go to BuckheadMedicine.com and click on top red bar to download these. These are essential. If tested we will send COVID-19 results via OhMD. The Vsee app is essential if you become ill, as I need to be able to lay eyes on you to determine your level of illness and make a decision of treating you at home or sending you to the hospital. Communication over the phone in this situation is inadequate.
Also please make sure you follow our Buckhead Medicine Facebook Page for routine office updates. https://www.facebook.com/BuckheadMedicine/
We also now have up and running a Facebook Group called COVID-19 Frontline. This group is open to the public to read, but limited to comments and posts by Physicians, NP’s and PA’s in the frontline actively caring for patients. This group provides useful information to review as its an active commentary from specialists and primary care providers on the frontline. https://www.facebook.com/groups/covid19frontline/
If you don’t have a Facebook account you can see the updates to both on our website.
Shelter In Place
Please do not leave your home unless absolutely necessary. Absolutely necessary means medical care or to gather food or medications. It is ok to exercise outside, but stay far away from other persons or other persons pets. Essential workers such as police, firemen, and healthcare workers have no choice, but we can help them by staying at home.
Stay Well and Stay Home,
Dr. Edward Espinosa