There is no shortage of information to read about the virus that causes COVID-19. It is difficult to determine the most up-to-date information, but your best source are generally from the CDC or large medical organizations. I have included links to some of the best websites below. I have also been periodically sending out emails to patients about the pandemic, and you can access these emails below as well. Remember, much of what we know now is new, so some of the information in the past may have changed.
Vaccination is the key to life beyond the pandemic. Even though there are several different mutations of the virus, all three vaccines that are currently available are extremely effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Being vaccinated is also what can keep you safe indoors without a mask, allow you to travel on cruise ships, and allow you to visit other countries without having to quarantine. Being vaccinated means that even if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, you do not have to quarantine or even get tested if you do not have any symptoms.
Most people who want the vaccine have likely already received it by now. Of those that are unvaccinated, there are some that are willing to do it, but just wanted to wait, or wanted an easier way to receive it. We are currently administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in our office. If you want the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please call us directly. For those of you who feel more comfortable getting the vaccine here, you can now make an appointment to do so. We don’t know what the demand for these vaccines will be, so if you are interested in receiving these vaccines from us, please let us know so we can coordinate the vaccinations. Each bottle needs to be used within one day of opening, so we want to time the vaccines so that people can get them together with as little wastage as possible.
You can still receive the vaccines at a variety of other sites, and the majority of appointments are now available through MyTurn.CA.gov. You will input your information and location, and the website will display vaccination locations close to you. The vaccines on this website are distributed from the State of California, but vaccines are also distributed directly from the federal government to certain pharmacies.
For the unvaccinated:
If you or someone you know has been reluctant to get any of the COVID vaccines so far, just know that more than 1 BILLION people world-wide have been fully vaccinated, and the risk of serious side effects is exceedingly rare. More than 95% of the people in the US who are currently hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 have not been vaccinated. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so it is still possible to get the disease after you’ve been fully vaccinated, but your symptoms will be very mild in the vast majority of cases. For more information, please read the July blog entry. If you still have questions, please schedule an appointment or virtual visit so that we can discuss it. I feel that everyone should be vaccinated, and I don’t believe that any one vaccine is better than another. You should try to get whichever vaccine is available to you.
How to prevent yourself from getting sick:
Make sure you are wearing a face covering and stay 6 feet apart when you are around people that aren’t in your household. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. For more information click here
Help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Download the app CA Notify It does not collect personal information and uses the Bluetooth function of phones nearby to notify you if you have been in close proximity to someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19. The more people that install this app, the better it works. It functions as a sort of contact tracer, even for people that you don’t know, except that no personal information is ever shared. Click on the link above to read more information about it.
Testing for COVID-19:
Some insurances will cover COVID-19 testing only if you are having symptoms. The best way to get a test that is billed through insurance is either to:
There are at-home COVID-19 tests that have received Emergency Use Authorization. These tests allow you to swab and test at home instead of mailing them in and waiting for the result. The two that I would recommend are the Ellume Home Test and the BinaxNOW Self-Test, and they are both available through Amazon or at local pharmacies. While they are both fairly accurate, as with any test, there are false positives and false negatives, so it is often advisable to get tested through a laboratory to confirm positive or negative results. The Ellume test does require a smart phone and downloading their app to use, but it is a single test with results in about 15 minutes. The BinaxNOW Test contains two test kits because, to ensure its accuracy, you need to repeat the test on yourself at least 36 hours after the first test. It is a stand-alone test and does not require downloading an app.
Please read about:
3 Keys Steps While Waiting for you COVID-19 Results
What to do if you are sick:
MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENT: If you have symptoms and are diagnosed with COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive monoclonal antibody treatment. This is one of the few treatments that has been shown to help decrease the risk of death or admission to the intensive care unit, and it is the category of medicines that the former president received when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 last year. It is only effective if given within the first 10 days of symptom onset, so it is essential that you get tested early if you have symptoms. Currently the treatment is only available for people who are at risk for complications from COVID-19, and this includes everyone ages 65 years or older, and individuals with diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease, or immunosuppressive disease. It is also available for individual ages 55 and above if they have heart disease, hypertension, or chronic lung disease. The treatment is free for everyone, and you can read more information about it below.
Treatment is administered at the MARC (Monoclonal Antibody Regional Center), which is currently at 4 different sites across San Diego county. Contact us as soon as possible if you meet the criteria and are interested in the treatment. If you have questions about the treatment, please call us to arrange a virtual visit to discuss.
Here are things you should be doing if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 click here
Previous COVID-19 related emails:
If you would like to go back to read some of the previous emails that our office has sent out. Remember that there has been some changes in our thinking regarding COVID-19, especially with regards to the wearing of masks. In the beginning, we did not feel that everyone should be wearing masks, but now we feel that it is very important.