North Atlanta Primary Care

COVID-19 Update Article

Coronavirus Update #10

Posted on April 22, 2020 by Physicians and Staff at NAPC

As Georgia is preparing to open up businesses in phase one of the Government plan, NAPC is developing increased testing capacity to assist our patients in making informed decisions. Rapid diagnostic testing for infection and serology testing for immunity are important topics. You must review the test information attached and how to interpret the results. We are here to assist you in making the right choices for you and your family.

NAPC remains open at all 12 locations and continues to see patients for essential healthcare every day. Telehealth with synchronous audio video connections allows us to effectively connect with and treat our patients. NAPC is utilizing many modalities to connect with patients. These include FaceTime, Skype, Doxy.me, Zoom, Doximity and FollowMyHealth. If you do not have adequate Wi-Fi connections we will simply call you. Our ability to provide effective high quality healthcare to you via telemedicine is important in protecting you from inadvertently acquiring and spreading SARS-nCoV2.

You may receive a Virtual visit, an in office visit or arrange a laboratory test for COVID-19 by simply calling NAPC at 770-442-1911, emailing us at info@napc.md or contacting us via the FMH patient portal. In addition our schedulers are contacting patients who have chronic medical problems, care gaps, require preventative care or need refills and making sure we coordinate your healthcare needs.

Can you discuss Antibody Testing?

The serology test looks for the presence of antibodies, which are specific proteins made in response to infections. Antibodies can be found in the blood and other tissues of those who are tested after infection. The antibodies detected by this test indicate that a person had an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, whether the symptoms developed from infection or the infection was asymptomatic.

There are several types of antibodies that are formed by our immune systems following exposure to a viral infectious agent. Some antibodies form early after an infection and others develop later and persist for long periods of time. NAPC has partnered with Quest labs to initially offer IgG antibody testing in our 12 locations. This method of testing utilizes an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) that is highly accurate and can quantify antibody levels. You will be required to have an appointment (virtual or in-person) and have a laboratory visit so a small tube of blood can be drawn. The specimen is transported to Quest’s central lab for processing and results will be available via our patient portal in 3-4 days.

In summary antibody testing is NOT used to diagnosis an acute infection with coronavirus. It is a test to help us develop a post infection COVID care plan. It can be useful in deciding can you donate plasma that may help patients who are currently in the ICU with COVID related complications. If you test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies you may be contacted by the Red Cross blood bank about becoming a possible donor.

Can you discuss SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Testing?

Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is currently done by our clinical staff at all 12 NAPC locations. In addition it is being performed by several drive through locations run by the Georgia DPH and at hospitals when used in conjunction with admission protocols. The test analyzes the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from the 2019 nCoV in upper and lower respiratory specimens using nasal-pharyngeal swabs. Referred to as PCR tests, these molecular tests can detect the virus’ genetic material collected on the swab and then amplified so that it can be measured. These tests are highly accurate.

Our clinical staff is trained to collect these nasal specimens in our offices and are required to wear full PPE gear. In addition you will be required to have a scheduled appointment, wear a face mask and other protective gear if indicated, and will be escorted into an appropriate testing room. NAPC follows all pertinent CDC and GA DPH guidelines for evaluating and testing patients. Tests are sent to Quest centralized labs and results generally return in 2-3 days. You will be required to self-isolate to protect your family and friends from possible exposure.

NAPC has been testing and treating COVID-19 positive patients since early March. We have developed a comprehensive COVID Care Plan. If you are positive for the coronavirus we will monitor you daily with home monitoring equipment to measure your oxygenation, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature. If your symptoms worsen we will monitor you via Telehealth every 4 hours. If you develop severe symptoms, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, weakness or signs of low oxygenation we will coordinate transfer to a local hospital ER for evaluation and possible admission.

Can you discuss Rapid Point of Care Testing?

Point of care testing refers to in office test kits that we obtain and perform while you are in the office. NAPC currently uses the Abbott rapid ID Now test analyzer for influenza testing. We are prepared to begin rapid SARS-CoV-2 testing in all 12 locations as soon as McKesson can obtain the Abbott test kits for us. The Abbott molecular point of care test was licensed on March 27, 2020 by the FDA and can provide results in less than 5 minutes. Once rapid molecular testing is available and fully operational NAPC can make informed decisions in how best patients can return to a normal work/home schedule. 

In addition point of care testing for antibodies is becoming available. The FDA authorized Cellex coronavirus antibody tests on April 2, 2020, however, the tests kits have been delayed in China. Over the next several weeks many point of care kits for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies will be available. Unfortunately the efficacy and accuracy of these tests can be questionable. We will have data soon to offer point of care tests for antibodies from a simple finger prick blood drop.

Also, exciting developments include salvia test kits that can test for both diagnostic active infection through molecular material and serologic evaluation for antibodies. These testing modalities have not been approved by FDA but hope they will be available soon. Even home self-testing kits by nasal swab will be coming in the near future.

Final Comments:

As we prepare to open up our society and move away from mitigation and self-isolation our advice to you is to pause and make informed decisions. Many of our patients may have developed antibodies that offer immunity. However many of our patients are also HIGH RISK. Please review the CDC guideline for high risk persons and recommendations.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID19-What-You-Can-Do-High-Risk.pdf

NAPC will assist you in making decisions on how best to move forward. High risk individuals should continue to stay home and avoid close contact with others. Testing for both the coronavirus infection and antibodies should be considered. This process is complicated and frightening to many. Please call, email, and message us. We are here to serve you. Thanks for putting your trust in NAPC for all your healthcare needs.

Stay Home. Stay Safe.

Physicians and Staff at NAPC

Alpharetta: 3400-C Old Milton Parkway, Suite 270, Alpharetta, GA 30005
Braselton: 1255 Friendship Road, Suite 130, Braselton, GA 30517
Cumming: 1800 Northside Forsyth Drive, Suite 450, Cumming, GA 30041
East Cobb: 1121 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 450, Marietta, GA 30068
Johns Creek: 4235 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite A, Suwanee, GA 30024
Sandy Springs: 1150 Hammond Dr., Building E, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30328
Sugar Hill: 4700 Nelson Brogdon Blvd., Suite 250, Buford, GA 30518
West Paces: 3200 Downwood Circle NW, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30327
Woodstock: 250 Parkbrooke Place, Suite 300, Woodstock, GA 30189

All locations: 770-442-1911