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COVID-19 Update 4/1/20

· COVID-19

Dear Patients of Signature Healthcare,

As stated in a prior update, the Physicians and Staff are always concerned about your health and well-being. We aim to keep you informed and up-to-date on recent developments.

There has been buzz on the Internet regarding the potential harms of taking certain blood pressure medications (ACE Inhibitors) as well as NSAID (and Elderberry) in the setting of COVID 19. While there are theoretical concerns that should not be dismissed out of hand, there is currently no evidence that people who take these medications actually have worse outcomes than people who do not. Do not stop a medication that you need. This includes NSAIDS if they are necessary and any blood pressure medications you may be taking. If you are unsure, please consult with your doctor at Signature.

You may have heard about new tests on the horizon for COVID-19:

One is a “rapid” point-of-care test. With this test, a healthcare provider swabs the nose/throat and processes it in the physician’s office. Results are available in 15-45 minutes, depending on the brand. With the currently used tests, the swabs are sent to outside reference labs and results are available in 2 to 5 days in most cases. Signature Healthcare has the equipment required to run the new rapid COVID-19 test kits, once they become available. We have been advised that the first batch of these tests will be sent to various “hot spots” throughout the country, after which we may receive testing supplies. This will likely take several weeks and we will notify you when it is available.

You may also be wondering whether there are tests available to verify prior infection and “immunity” or antibodies to COVID-19. Although the physicians at Signature agree that this would be a very useful test, specific antibody tests for SARS-CoV2 are still in development stages.

This past week, Governor Roy Cooper applied a Stay-At-Home order for the State of North Carolina. This may seem extreme, but we recognize that prevention is the best medicine. Staying at home does not require protective gear, prescription medicine, or medical supplies, yet does reduce viral spread. Even with the Stay-At-Home order and social distancing, we will likely see a continued increase in cases over the next several weeks, with mathematical models predicting peak COVID-19 activity in North Carolina around April 21st. However, with everyone’s continued efforts, we CAN decrease the number of people infected.

If you need alcohol-based hand sanitizer and are unable to find any in stores or online, several local independent pharmacies may be able to help: Dilworth Drug & Wellness Center (704-910-4288), Walker Drug (704-364-3444), and Carolina Pharmacy (704-909-4700).

As a reminder, virtual visits are available at Signature Healthcare via a variety of platforms. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we encourage patients to take advantage of virtual visits with our physicians to stay on top of chronic health conditions as well as address new concerns. Appointments for virtual visits can be made by calling the office.

Until our next update, stay home, and stay safe!

Sincerely, The Physicians & Staff at Signature Healthcare

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