Category: COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

As your primary care providers, we at Ninth Street Internal Medicine and MDVIP would like to encourage everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. We believe in both the safety and efficacy of this vaccine. If you would like to learn more about how mRNA vaccines work, we encourage you to visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html to learn more.

Anyone who still has questions or reservations about getting the vaccine should schedule a phone appointment to discuss with your doctor. This vaccine is the best way for all of us to end this pandemic and get back to normal life! Continue reading “COVID-19 Vaccine Information”

Covid FAQs

I’ve had COVID-19 symptoms and have been self-isolating. When is it safe for me to be around other people?

If you know or suspect that you have COVID-19, staying away from others is the right thing to do. Self-isolating can help keep the virus from spreading.

It’s safe to be around others again when:

  • You haven’t had a fever for 24 hours while not taking medicines to lower the fever, and
  • Your symptoms have improved, and
  • It’s been at least 10 days since your symptoms started.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether you also need testing, especially if you have a weakened immune system.

 

Do children get the same symptoms of COVID-19 as adults?

Yes, children get the same symptoms as adults, such as a fever, cough, and trouble breathing.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but serious condition that’s probably related to COVID-19. It causes inflammation, which can affect the heart and other organs. A child with MIS-C usually has a fever for 24 hours or longer, plus other symptoms. Examples include belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, and red eyes. Most children get better with treatment.

Can immunoglobulin be used to treat COVID-19?

Doctors and hospitals are starting clinical trials to see if this treatment will help to fight COVID-19. Immunoglobulin (also called gamma globulin or immune globulin) is made from the blood of people who have recovered from an infection. In the case of COVID-19, it contains antibodies that fight COVID-19. When a person gets an infection, the body responds by making antibodies. These antibodies attack the infection and help the body fight it.

The hope is that if immunoglobulin is given to someone who is very ill from the virus, the antibodies will help that person fight and overcome the infection. Experts don’t yet know if this will work and be safe for people with a serious COVID-19 infection. It seems to help in some other serious infections.

How long does the virus that causes COVID-19 live?

A new study shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive in an aerosol form for at least 3 hours. An aerosol is something under pressure that can be released as a spray, like a sneeze or a cough.

The virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 3 days, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.  How well it survives may depend on the surface it’s on. In the study, the virus lasted longest on plastic and stainless steel. It didn’t live as long on cardboard.

Because the virus can live for hours to days, it’s especially important to keep items around you clean. Experts advise disinfecting surfaces and objects you touch a lot, such as tables, door handles, faucets, toilets, handrails, and remote controls. You can use household disinfectants, a bleach solution, or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.

Why is the virus making some young and healthy people very sick?

Experts don’t know why some people, even those who are healthy, get very sick. Overall, COVID-19 seems to cause fewer problems in people who are young and healthy. Those who are older or have other health problems, like diabetes or heart disease, have a higher risk of getting very sick. But the virus can affect anyone, even those who are young and healthy. And it can cause serious problems (even death) at any age.

Will antibiotics help prevent or treat COVID-19?

No. Antibiotics treat infections that are caused by bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus. Viruses are different than bacteria. Antibiotics don’t help and can even cause other problems.

What is the average length of COVID-19 illness (mild and severe)?

The length of time someone is sick with COVID-19 varies. It depends on how sick a person is. When people are mildly ill, they usually get better in 1 or 2 weeks. People who are more severely ill have worse symptoms, like severe shortness of breath and pneumonia. They need care in a hospital. They usually get better in 3 to 6 weeks. Some people who get very sick may need even more time to recover.

Some people with COVID-19 have very mild or no symptoms. They may get over the infection without even knowing they had it.

What is a ventilator? Why is it so important in this outbreak?

A ventilator is a machine that breathes for a person when they can’t breathe well enough on their own. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. This means it can affect the breathing systems of the body, especially the lungs. Most people with COVID-19 don’t get seriously ill. But when someone is very ill, the infection affects the lungs so severely that breathing is hard or impossible.

A ventilator has a tube that goes through the mouth into the lungs. The machine brings oxygen into the lungs and removes carbon dioxide. A ventilator is important because it does the work of the lungs and gives them time to heal. After they heal, the tube can be removed.

One of the main concerns about this virus is whether there will be enough ventilators if many people get sick at the same time.

How is COVID-19 treated?

If you have mild symptoms, you can care for yourself at home while you are in isolation. Your doctor may have you take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a fever. Treatment in the hospital for more serious cases includes support, such as a ventilator (to help with breathing) and medicines. Some people may be placed on their belly to help their oxygen levels.

What Should I Do if I Get COVID-19?

Having COVID-19 can be scary, but most people do recover. If you do get it, be sure to get plenty of rest and treat your fever. You should also do what you can to avoid spreading COVID-19 to anyone else. Stay home, wear a face mask when around other people, call ahead before going to the doctor, and stay at least 6 feet away from the people around you.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms, please visit:
https://www.healthwise.org/specialpages/covid-19-resources.aspx#anchor_SymptomChecker

COVID-19 Office Policies & Updates

We are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff.

Your doctor or nurse practitioner at Ninth Street Internal Medicine will work with you to decide whether an appointment in the office is recommended as part of your ongoing medical care.  Please call the office if you have questions about your care after reading the following information.

How we are keeping you safe and healthy

  1. If you are sick or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, please contact our office.
  2. We are seeing sick patients in the office during special hours in the late afternoon, and we are still doing telehealth visits as well.
  3. We can perform both rapid COVID-19 testing and send-out COVID-19 testing at our office depending on what you need, as well as regular flu and strep testing too. Please schedule an appointment so you can discuss with a medical provider what is best for you.
  4. Due to limited resources during the current COVID-19 surge, we will not be performing COVID-19 testing on patients who are asymptomatic and without any known exposure.
  5. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate at home until your appointment. The optimal window for testing is 5-7 days after exposure, but please call us right away so we can make all of the proper arrangements for you.
  6. If you live in the same household with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are at a high risk of becoming infected. You should quarantine at home until you can be sure that you are not infected. Please schedule a telehealth visit for specific instructions for your individual situation. Please visit the CDC website for more instructions about what to do or for more information about quarantine.

Is it better for me to schedule a telemedicine visit or an in-person visit?

Virtual/Telemedicine Visits allow you to use a phone or desktop device to speak with your physician. Examples of when telemedicine may be appropriate include:

  • Minor illnesses, like a cold or sinus infection
  • Minor injuries, like small cuts or sprains
  • Non-severe symptoms from a chronic condition
  • General health concerns or questions
  • Annual wellness visits
  • Anyone with respiratory symptoms, or other symptoms concerning for a COVID-19 infection, MUST speak with a provider by phone or video before coming in to the office.

In-Person Visit

There are times where it will be best to see your doctor in person for more complex and personalized care. For example:

  • Cancer screenings and treatments
  • Complex chronic disease care
  • Vaccines
  • Certain worrisome symptoms including stomach pain, pelvic pain or other gynecologic symptoms, chest pain, headache, certain musculoskeletal problems.

Please call the office, or send a message via the patient portal if you have questions about what type of appointment is recommended.

Can I postpone my in-office appointment?

It is more important than ever to take care of your health, especially chronic conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic heart and lung conditions. Cancer screening and immunizations are also crucial to your continued health. Some routine care may be able to wait, but other issues are important to address quickly. Your provider will determine if an office appointment is recommended as part of your ongoing medical care.

Is it safe for me to go to my upcoming doctor’s appointment?

We are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of all patients and staff who enter the office. These include:

  • No COVID-19 testing is being done in the office. No patients with current symptoms of, or recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 will be permitted in the office.
  • Pre-appointment symptoms screening
  • Temperature check for all staff and patients on arrival
  • Masks must be worn by staff and patients at all times while in the office.
  • No-waiting in the waiting room. Patients will be taken directly to an exam room after check in
  • Limitations on the number of staff and patients in the office each day will help us to follow recommended social distancing guidelines
  • No walk-in hours. Please contact the office first to schedule all appointments
  • Exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between patients.

What should I do to prepare to come in for an appointment?

  • One day before your appointment, the office will contact you to screen you for COVID-19 symptoms. If you have any symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 (these include fevers, chills, cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache, or sore throat), a doctor or nurse practitioner will contact you to review your symptoms and determine next steps.
  • Wear a face covering or mask to your visit.

What type of face covering is appropriate to wear?

Your face covering should cover the nose and mouth, and be secured to the head with ties or straps, or wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

Face masks with one-way exhalation valves should not be worn. These masks filter the air that is inhaled by the person wearing it, protecting them from dust and small particles in their surroundings. However, the exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the environment, putting those around the wearer at risk.

For more information about face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19, please see the CDC website:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Woman wearing face masks

Should I have bloodwork done?

Yes. Routine bloodwork is important for preventing, monitoring, and managing many chronic conditions. It may also be important to monitor bloodwork if you take certain medications. If you have an upcoming annual physical exam appointment, or if you typically have bloodwork done before appointments (such as for diabetes), we request that you have bloodwork done. Most LabCorp and Quest Diagnostic laboratories remain open, and are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We recommend that you schedule an appointment to have bloodwork done with your nearest lab. Please call the office if you have specific questions.

Can I bring a family member or caregiver to my appointment?

Individuals with physical or cognitive limitations who require the assistance of another person to attend their appointment are permitted to bring one person with them to the appointment. To help us limited the number of individuals in the office and follow social distancing guidelines, we request that patients who are able to do so come to their appointments unaccompanied.

Since I scheduled my appointment, I lost my job and no longer have health insurance (or my insurance changed). What should I do?

We are committed to helping all of our patients get the care that they need. Please call the office, or send a message via the patient portal to discuss your situation and find out how we can help.

Where can I find more information?

Protecting yourself from COVID-19 infection
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Testing for COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/index.html

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Information about the end of stay-at-home orders and the gradual reopening of Philadelphia
https://www.phila.gov/2020-05-29-what-the-yellow-phase-means-for-philadelphia/
https://www.phila.gov/guides/safer-at-home/

Guidelines for people who have close contact with someone who has COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

Self-isolation guidelines for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

Caring for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html

Guidelines for Caregivers who are sick
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/parents-caregivers.html

COVID-19 Vaccine


We are pleased to announce that NSIM is partnering with Centennial Pharmacy Services to administer COVID vaccine shots in our office. We have worked closely with Centennial Pharmacy Services for many years and they are a trusted partner.

We do not know when our first doses of vaccine will arrive nor do we know how many doses we will get on a weekly basis. The number of people who want the vaccine is far greater than the supply Philadelphia receives weekly from the federal government.  We are following the Philadelphia Health Department prioritization phases in administering the vaccine. We anticipate it will take at least until the end of May or longer before the city has vaccinated all people over 65, those with chronic medical conditions, and those working in occupations essential to our economy.

If you want to receive the vaccine in our office when we receive a supply:

Register your interest

You will complete and submit a questionnaire. The information you submit is confidential and the only people who have access to it are the staff of NSIM and Centennial Pharmacy. It will be used only for the purpose of COVID vaccine administration and not for any marketing purposes or sold to any other entity. Once we know that we are receiving the vaccine, you will be contacted about an appointment time by Centennial Pharmacy either by text message, email, or phone (depending on your contact preference).

WE URGE ALL OF OUR PATIENTS TO GET THE VACCINE.

If you have any concerns about the safety, effectiveness, rapidity of development or other issues regarding the COVID vaccines, please contact your primary care provider at NSIM.

Please be patient. No one will be truly safe until everyone in our country who desires the vaccine has received it.  Please continue to wear your mask when outside of your home, maintain social distance, wash your hands, and follow other guidelines from the health department and CDC. Once you receive the vaccine, you will need to strictly maintain these precautions at all times until our public health officials tell us otherwise.

Call us (215) 440-8681  | View COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Info