Thank you for attending Northern Virginia Family Practice’s town hall series, “Be Well, Virginia”. Your questions help us understand what you need and what you want to know, so please keep them coming! This blog is designed to answer your questions and keep you informed during the pandemic. Since the science changes weekly, answers will naturally evolve as the science around Covid-19 evolves.
- When will NVFP be open to see patients again? What about my physical/labs?
NVFP is open. In order to keep our patients and staff safe, we have transitioned MOST appointments to a HIPAA secure telemedicine platform. Patients are still seen in person when that is needed. We want to take care of your chronic conditions so that they do not become a larger problem due to the quarantine. The lab is open, and we encourage you to have your labs drawn prior to your telemedicine follow-up. The providers are assessing the situation as it changes daily and will make decisions about your care on an individual basis. We expect to slowly and safely reintroduce patients into the office this year.
- How reliable are the current antibody tests? What can they tell us at this point?
There are numerous antibody tests currently available to look for IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. None of these tests are approved by the FDA but instead received emergency use authorization. The current test available to NVFP through Quest Diagnostic detects IgG antibodies to coronavirus however it is not specific for COVID-19 and could detect viral particles from other coronaviruses that cause the common cold. This would lead to a false positive, meaning that a person could test as having antibodies to Covid-19 but in fact has never been exposed to COVID-19. The tests should not be used for the diagnosis of COVID-19 or to assume immunity. If you are interested in having the test performed please schedule a telemedicine visit with your provider to discuss further and continue frequent handwashing for 20 seconds, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.
- Are there certain organs that are more vulnerable to viral harm than others? Are there certain treatments that are geared at treating the different organ involvements?
Unfortunately, this virus can attack almost all the organs in the body. As we’ve seen the lungs are probably the most vulnerable however, the cardiovascular system, brain, kidneys, liver, and intestines can be affected and lead to devastating complications. Because this is a virus the treatment is mostly supportive. In mild cases that means, rest, stay well hydrated, eat healthily, control your fever, and stay in touch with your provider at NVFP. If your situation worsens and you need emergent care at the hospital, you may need supplemental oxygen/supportive breathing with a ventilator, antibiotics to treat secondary pneumonia, blood thinners to treat blood clots, etc.. Experimental medications have been granted emergency approval to treat Covid-19 in the hospital setting only. There are currently no outpatient medicines that work to treat this virus. We can’t wait until there are such outpatient treatments!
NVFP is here for you, especially during this time. Since we have only been dealing with COVID for roughly 2 months there is still lots to learn and things are changing frequently. Please tune in to our town hall meetings and check our website and blogs for information. Reach out to your individual provider for specific concerns and continue to socially distance, practice good handwashing, and wear a mask.
By Jessica Ware, PA-C, concierge family medicine PA for 18 years focusing on high quality personalized preventive care.