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COVID-19 Update 5/7/20

· COVID-19

Dear Patients of Signature Healthcare,

 

NC State Restriction update:
Since new COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions appear to be leveling off in North Carolina and hospitals have capacity to care for sick patients, NC’s shelter-in-place restrictions will soon be eased. Changes include:

  • Opening of most retail establishments (to 50% capacity). Social distancing and hand washing recommendations remain in effect. Wearing a mask is advised when 6’ of distancing is not possible.
  • Parks will reopen, but playgrounds will remain closed.
  • Childcare and summer day camps will be available for children of parents working or looking for work.
  • Outdoor gatherings (with social distancing) of up to 10 people allowed.
  • Outdoor religious gathering (with social distancing) will not be restricted to fewer than 10 people.

What is not yet changing:

  • Restaurants remain closed except for take-out or delivery.
  • Service-related industries (such as hair or nail salons, fitness centers, bars, entertainment venues) remain closed.
  • Current restrictions to protect nursing home communities remain in place.
  • Social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing when social distancing is not possible.

Reopening does NOT mean that the virus had gone away or that we have effective treatment. Some hospitals are participating in research studies, however, there is currently no proven treatment. Please be cautious, continue to isolate if high risk, and engage in frequent hand washing. Be prepared for additional shutdowns if cases trend up again. Isolate if you are exposed.

 

Tips for returning to work:

  • Work remotely if possible.
  • If shared workspace, work as far away from others as possible.
  • Avoid congregating in groups.
  • Keep a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask. Do not touch the outside of the mask. Remove it by the ear loops and if cloth mask, wash it daily.
  • Avoid touching the mask or your face.
  • Work in well-ventilated areas.
  • Avoid buffets and shared food.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces such as door handles, equipment, elevator buttons.
  • Wipe down desk, keyboard, phone and other workspace items with disinfectant wipes daily.
  • If you are sick, DO NOT go to work and expose others. People may be most contagious early in the illness when symptoms seem minor.

Vaccine update:
Vaccines are designed to expose the body to an element of an organism (antigen) that won’t cause disease but will provoke an immune response that can block or kill the virus if a person becomes infected. More than 75 vaccines are currently being developed against SARS-CoV-2. Researchers are trying several technologies, some of which haven’t been used in a licensed vaccine before and others that are being “repurposed” from other diseases. There are at least 8 types being tested against the coronavirus. Some have been used in human volunteers in phase 1 trials. Preliminary results for some vaccine candidates may be available as early as late this summer, however, large scale availability of any widely tested and safe vaccine is unlikely until the middle of 2021 due to manufacturing constraints.
 
Signature Healthcare update:
We continue to offer diagnostic and serologic (antibody) testing for SARS-CoV2. While the antibody test that we offer is the best available, it is not 100% accurate. We recommend conversations with your doctor to understand the limitations of antibody testing. Please contact your doctor/nurse if you think you need to be tested. We also encourage patients to take advantage of both virtual and in-office visits with our physicians to stay on top of chronic health conditions as well as address any acute concerns. We have maintained a safe environment to reduce the risk of any potential transmission of SARS-CoV2 to patients and staff. Appointments can be made by calling the office. The Uptown office has not been permanently closed. We have closed it temporarily for routine visits until shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted in NC but are still able to arrange visits with prior notice.

 

As always, we urge you to continue to engage in regular physical activity, eat a healthy diet, and minimize alcohol intake. Remember that we’re always here for questions or guidance!

 

Sincerely,
The Physicians & Staff at Signature Healthcare

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