FAQ about coronavirus - guidance from the AMA with my commentary in brackets
1. When should patients be tested for COVID-19?
[The answer doesn't matter because as far as I can tell, the Florida department of health has minimal testing available. They are advising clinicians to test patients if we have the proper supplies. But like many other primary care offices, Gulf Coast DPC does NOT have testing supplies nor protective equipment to do the tests. I am screening my patients by phone and telling them if I think they MAY have the virus. If so, I am urging them to stay home and not expose others.]
2. How do I treat patients with confirmed COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms either at home or in a clinical setting as symptoms demand. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
[In other words, there are two choices - stay home and take cold medication or go to the hospital and be admitted for intensive care.]
There are no antiviral drugs licensed by the FDA to treat patients with COVID-19. Some patients with COVID-19 have received intravenous remdesivir, an investigational antiviral drug that was reported to have in-vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2, for compassionate use outside of a clinical trial setting.
Hydroxychloroquine is currently under investigation in clinical trials for pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and treatment of patients with mild, moderate and severe COVID-19.
[We don't know if hydroxychloroquine and/or azithromycin - z pack- makes any difference yet. It's being studied. These drugs CAN cause fatal heart arrhythmias in some people, so we need to know if they work before we take a chance]
4. How do I know when it is safe for patients to discontinue home isolation?
Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:
At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
[Bottom line: the safest bet is to stay home. Call your doctor for medical advice, and reserve the emergency room for life-threatening symptoms like worsening shortness of breath]
information for our patients
We are converting as many patients as possible to telemedicine and web-based video chats. Unless you have a definite need to be seen in the office for an exam or blood work that cannot be deferred, we ask that you either delay your appointment or allow us to work together "virtually" to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
If you need medication that you get from our office, we are happy to prepare it for you and bring it out to your car.
Please do not come to the office without an appointment. We are minimizing exposure to our patients and staff to keep everyone well.
Dr. Victoria Torres-Frehe is offering telemedicine 'virtual' psychology visits. Price for established patients will remain $60/visit throughout this epidemic.
She can also consult with non-members virtually for an additional fee.
Call or Text (239) 451-5002