Important GVMS COVID-19 Update

COVID0-19 VACCINE UPDATE: 1/11/2021

 

The following groups are now eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccine:

 

65 and older.

Pre-kindergarten through high school teachers, support staff and childcare workers who have direct contact with children.

First line responders not covered in phase 1A, like firefighters, police, conservation officers, and inspectors.

Correction workers, like staffing prison, jails, juvenile justice to facilities.

Workers in homeless shelters, congregate childcare institutions, and Adult and Child Protective Services.

Front line health care workers.

Nursing home staff and residents.

 

Our office, Grand Valley Medical Specialists, does NOT have the vaccine at this time. The Kent County Health Department has begun registration for qualified individuals using the website www.vaccinatewestmi.com. Spectrum Health is also registering eligible persons. To apply, you can log in or create a Spectrum Health MyChart account. There are also a number of other entities, including many pharmacies, Mercy Health, and Metro Health that all have their own programs for vaccine distribution to those that are eligible. If you need assistance with registration, you may contact United Way at 2-1-1.

 

Details of further vaccine distribution should become clearer in the coming days and weeks. We advise you to watch the news for further announcements. We will update our website as new information becomes available.

 

We strongly encourage all who are eligible to receive vaccination against COVID-19 once it is available to them.

SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT:

After exposure to the COVID-19 virus, the amount of time until the onset of symptoms ranges from 2 to 14 days.  The average is five days.  Contagiousness depends on the individual’s response to the virus and appears to begin two days before the onset of symptoms and continues until symptoms are following a consistent improving course. 

 

Common symptoms of COVID-19 infection include one or more of the following:  chills, sore throat, generalized muscle achiness, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, headache, fever of 100° F or more, loss of taste, loss of smell, nasal congestion, nausea, and diarrhea.

 

COVID-19 testing is recommended for those who develop the above symptoms.  COVID-19 testing is usually NOT an emergency, unless the infected person has severe symptoms (significant shortness of breath, or mental status changes).  For those who have their own home pulse oximeter, a value below 90% is also indicative of a severe infection.  If experiencing severe symptoms, you should go immediately to the nearest emergency room.  GVMS can assist our patients getting tested who have symptoms, but lack severe symptoms, DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS.

 

There are no specific medications for treatment of routine cases of COVID-19.  There are trials of medications for people with severe infections who require hospitalization.  Treatment for patients at home include staying hydrated, maintaining nutrition, and rest.  Those with severe nausea can be treated with prescription anti-nausea medications.  Cough can be treated with over the counter guaifenesin.  Tylenol can be used to treat achiness (patients without contraindications can use NSAIDs like ibuprofen).  Over-the-counter products like Chloraseptic can also be utilized for treating sore throat.

 

The physicians of GVMS urge everyone to be considerate and responsible.  We must recognize that our actions can impact the health of those around us.  PLEASE utilize face masks and good hand hygiene.  Practice social distancing from others who are not in your household.  Avoid large gatherings.  If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should immediately isolate yourself from others.  Please do your part to avoid spreading the infection!

TESTING:

The following is information on testing locations:

 

COVID-19 testing is now widely available to those suspected of having the infection. Unfortunately, with recent rise in cases testing may not be available due to exposure alone. Time to get results varies greatly based on local cases but in most case ranges from 2-5 days. Rapid testing is unfortunately still not readily available.

 

During regular office hours, our office is able to send an order to various local hospital systems including Spectrum Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and Metro Health. Depending on the health system, you would call to arrange a testing time appointment.

 

Outside of regular office hours, several options are available to you without a doctor’s order:

 

1. ) Kent County Health Department: call (616) 632-7200 or go to <https://www.accesskent.com/Health/covid-19-testing.htm> to register

 

2.) Cherry Health: call (616) 965-8347 to schedule or go to <https://www.cherryhealth.org/resources/covid-19-information/> for additional information

 

3.) Contact Spectrum Health’s COVID-19 hotline at (833) 559-0659 to be screening, have the test ordered, and be directed to a testing site. More information can be found at <https://www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19>

 

4.) Various local pharmacies:

 

Rite Aid. Preregister online at <https://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/services/covid-19-testing>. Available for patients 18+.

CVS. Preregister online at <https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing>.
 

Family Fare. Complete screening questionnaire at <https://www.shopfamilyfare.com/covid-19-testing> after which you will be directed to location.
 

Walgreens. Complete screening questionnaire at <https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing>.

5.) Several local urgent care sites:
 

AFC Urgent Care. Please call (616) 288-2980 for appointment and test scheduling.
 

WellCare Urgent Care. Please see their website at <https://wellcareurgentcare.com/covid-19-testing/> or call (616) 591-5995 to schedule appointment and testing.
 

6.) Mercy Health Saint Mary’s offers very limited unscheduled, first come, first serve testing at the Southwest Campus. Please see their website for most up to date hours, <https://www.mercyhealth.com/health-and-wellness/covid-19/>. Testing closes once capacity is reached.
 

7.) https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-99891_99912-531745–,00.html> lists all available testing sites in the state include all the above and other testing sites.

QUARANTINE:

Quarantine is used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before an individual knows they are sick, by keeping someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Close contact or exposure is defined by the CDC as being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over 24 hours. This exposure is regardless of whether you or the individual was masked at the time.

 

Persons who have had direct exposure to a person positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days after the last known exposure. During this time, monitor closely for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including fevers, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Much information is available to help you navigate this difficult time. Please see the following resources for additional information:
 

1.) CDC: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html>
 

2.) State of Michigan: <https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/>
 

3.) Kent County Health Department: <https://www.accesskent.com/Health/coronavirus.htm>