We’re reaching out this afternoon to provide an update in response to the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in the area. We would like to remind everyone to be extremely careful, and strictly observe masking, hand washing, and social distancing. We understand the importance of being able to work and continue with daily life, but the idea is to do it safely! COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in Idaho, and they are expected to start increasing exponentially as the state has opened and travel season is in full swing. As of Wednesday afternoon, in Kootenai alone, the case count nearly doubled. Also in this area, the percentage of POSITIVE tests out of TOTAL tests rose from 7% to 11%, meaning, it’s spreading faster now.
We are encouraging everyone to schedule phone or video chat appointments unless a physical exam is absolutely necessary (example would be needing to listen to the heart, or doing a gynecologic exam.) We are currently still seeing people in clinic (and will of course update you if anything changes), however we must emphasize the necessity of wearing a mask and wearing it correctly to each appointment. If Kim, Rebekah, or I end up exposed to a positive patient without proper PPE we will need to self isolate to protect our patients and the rest of the staff for 14 days. So please help us all stay safe.
Additionally, for those who don’t know, here is some information about the different kinds of COVID tests:
1) Nasal Swab: These are performed at Kootenai and other local hospitals, and are FDA approved and are used for official reporting purposes. They are sensitive to the proteins generated by the virus itself. Incidentally, the longer the virus is in your body, the more accurate this test will be. This means that if you have a known exposure, it’s best to wait a bit before getting the test. If you get the test right after exposure, you run a high risk of scoring a false negative. The turnaround time for results on these is now about 1 – 3 days.
2) Antibody Test: These are the tests we can do here in the office. They have not been FDA approved and are not used for official reporting purposes, but are available for use in medical offices under the EUA (Emergency Use Act). They are sensitive to the antibodies that your body produces as a result of recognizing the virus. Since your antibodies arrive on the scene after the virus has been in your body for a bit, this test is most sensitive after you’ve developed symptoms. The antibody test will indicate whether you have antibodies for a current infection, or if you have antibodies from a previous infection, and it results in 10 minutes.
The 4th of July weekend is usually viewed as a time to gather with family and friends, and while we DO NOT discourage community and celebration and patriotism, we DO want you to celebrate SAFELY, and as a reminder, the office will be closed on 7/3/2020 in observance of Independence Day.