Hospitals and surgical centers have resumed all procedures.
Please read below our recommendations for activity prior to your surgery. Our intent is to minimize the risk for any COVID related complications of your procedure and recovery.
If you have had direct contact with any person confirmed COVID positive in the 30 days prior to your procedure, please postpone.
If you have any new symptoms that develop within 14 days of your planned procedure, please postpone. New symptoms can include but are not limited to: fever, chills, headache, confusion, excessive sleepiness, loss of smell or taste, cough, sore throat, activity intolerance, shortness of breath, irregular/fast/slow heartbeat, persistent nausea, diarrhea, weakness, body aches, numbness, or tingling.
You should be tested for COVID19 between 1 and 5 days prior to surgery. Directly after you
receive your test, you should observe a full quarantine until your procedure. This means do not leave your home,
do not come into contact with anyone outside of your household,
take contactless delivery of any food, mail, and shopping items.
These recommendations apply specifically to procedures planned for the duration of the COVID19 pandemic. Adherence to these recommendations does not in any way guarantee that you will not be affected by COVID 19 at any time. COVID19 is in the community and its behavior is still not well understood, particularly in people undergoing non-life sustaining procedures.
Your best chance of avoiding illness Is to wear nose and mouth covering in public, maintain physical distance from others, defer any group gatherings, and limit your activities away from home.
As always, we are here to support and assist you.
What are you doing to keep yourselves healthy?
In the office, all staff are checking their oral temperatures twice a day. Anyone with a temperature greater than 99.4 without symptoms or with symptoms of any type will be sent for testing and quarantine. We work in small teams which do not overlap in the office to limit physical exposure.
Since March 14 we have adjusted our office practices. Virtual technology is being used when appropriate. If you are seen in the office, you will note that you will be required to mask and the staff will maintain a masked distance of 6 feet from each other and from you. If you need to be touched, staff members will don gloves, a surgical mask, eye protection, and other personal protective equipment. These actions are intended to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus between individuals. Wearing a mask does not indicate that an individual is sick. Importantly, nor does having no symptoms indicate that a person is not infected or infectious.
COVID-19 VACCINE Facts, Information
Asking for Help:
We recognize that some in our community are without local family or resources. If you need, or someone you know who is a patient of our practice needs, help with getting food, medications, or other life sustaining assistance during quarantine or "shelter in place" orders, please call our office. We are coordinating assistance delivered by our staff to patients in need. In addition, if you are having difficulty paying for your medications, please notify us.
What about the News?
There are several items in the news that can be confusing, and there is a great deal of misinformation circulating. We will address here items of scientific interest.
Masks: Assertions that wearing face coverings will cause you to become sick by rebreathing your own virus particles or your own carbon dioxide are blatantly false. Masks have been definitively shown to reduce virus transmission between individuals. As estimates of infected persons without symptoms are in the millions, symptomatic patients may shed virus for weeks, and people may become reinfected or reactivated with the virus, we show our respect, compassion, and love for others by wearing a mask ourselves.
Vaccines: Two vaccines have been granted emergency FDA approval, and we expect others in the coming weeks. The Federal government is distributing available vaccines to States, which are in turn directing community distribution. This rapid rollout will inevitably take missteps; we ask for patience and grace in dealing with your healthcare staff.
There is some suggestion that vaccination for any infectious disease may prime the immune system, making it more responsive to the CORONAVIRUS that causes COVID19. In particular, the seasonal INFLUENZA vaccine ("the flu shot") may provide this type of benefit. As there are cases of critical disease associated with co-infection with COVID and INFLUENZA, "the Flu shot" is recommended even more strongly this year. "The Flu shot" is still available at offices and pharmacies everywhere.
What happens if I get sick?
The recommendation is to call us. If we feel you are at risk for COVID 19 we will refer you for testing. If you have mild disease that can be managed at home, this is what will occur. If you are seriously ill you will be referred for hospitalization.
We do well to remember that other medical conditions continue to occur.
Both York Hospital and UPMC Memorial Hospital are observing strict precautions to sequester non-COVID patients from potential COVID exposure.
As always, if you develop any symptoms of concern please notify us immediately. We are available 24/7/365.
COVID VACCINES will be offered Monday June 7.
High risk patients are scheduled from 8-11 am, and walk-ins will be accepted from 11 am to 4 pm while supplies last.
It is strongly recommended that ALL people over 18 who do not have an allergy to components of the COVID 19 vaccine should receive it. Please note that for college students, many institutions will require proof of vaccination for enrollment.
If you have family members or friends who do not currently have a primary physician, we encourage them to register as patients with our practice ASAP in anticipation of vaccines becoming available.
Strategy for remaining open: Physical/wellness exams and procedures continue to be scheduled in a strategic and staged fashion. If you are due for or have had to reschedule a wellness or procedure appointment, please call the office to make an appointment. Please note that appointment dates, times, and modes are subject to change, particularly as COVID19 cases surge. We appreciate your ongoing flexibility and patience as staff levels, regulations, and equipment availability are in constant flux.
Routine follow up appointments will be conducted at scheduled times by virtual or in-person means (please note these times are very likely to change). You will receive a call from the office with instructions at your scheduled date and time. All sick visits and calls will be triaged by our staff and instructions given at that time. Please note that all visitors to the property are required to wear nose and mouth coverings. Please do not under any circumstances present to our office in person with an unexplained illness or known COVID exposure.
In person visits will be conducted in the office and by "Doctor Drive-Thru" (in the parking lot). This procedure is designed to ration supplies, limit sterilization needs, and allow for patient privacy, all while maintaining the physical distance required to limit the spread of COVID19.
The doors to the office will remain locked. When coming to the office for any reason, please remain in your car and call the office to notify us of your arrival. You will be greeted outside by one of our staff.
You are asked to address all medical concerns by telephone or portal to our office. We encourage you to utilize your portal for communication, which can be accessed through this website on the HOME button. Please do not use an outside Online Urgent Care, present to an Urgent Care, or go to the Emergency Room without being directed to do so by one of our staff. Please be advised that we check both telephone and portal messages throughout the day and response time will vary based on urgency and volume. We field several hundred calls and messages per day. We strongly urge you to use the portal to communicate with our staff. While we have three active telephone lines and use our personal devices for outgoing calls, our telephone system has been completely overwhelmed, resulting in the line ringing busy.
Healthcare providers are being asked to make some very difficult and, let's face it, unpopular decisions and recommendations at this time. The thrust is to conserve equipment, conserve medications, conserve emergency resources, and conserve personnel. While we in the US fervently hope that our efforts at social distancing will result in our not realizing the effects that COVID-19 is having on our worldwide neighbors, the painful lesson they offer is "be prepared". Let us stick together by staying apart!
For more information, please visit the following websites:
CDC Coronvirus FAQs:
Avoiding Coronavirus spread in homes: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%Fcoronavirus%2F2019-nov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html
Where Coronavirus came from:
Current quarantine recommendations
Suspected or Confirmed COVID19, not hospitalized: at least 7-10 days from onset of symptoms, no fever, symptoms improving.
Suspected or Confirmed COVID 19, hospitalized: at least 20 days from onset of symptoms, no fever, symptoms improving.
Confirmed COVID19 significant exposure (more than 15 total minutes within 6 feet, mask or no mask, contact tested positive): 14 days from last exposure to infected person. Quarantine resets if symptoms develop.
Suspected COVID19 significant exposure (more than 15 total minutes within 6 feet, mask or no mask, contact test pending, not done, or clinical diagnosis regardless of test results): 14 days from last exposure to person in question. Quarantine resets if symptoms develop.
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Vaccine appointments can be made in a number of ways.
If you have internet access: Through a “mywellspan” account if you and have used any Wellspan facility for healthcare, through commercial websites, or through the PA Department of Health website.
If you do not have internet access, by calling:
Pa Department of Health (877) 724-3258
Wellspan Covid Scheduling (855) 851-3641
UPMC Covid Scheduling (833) 299-4358
If you wish to discuss your particular vaccine questions, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Johnson or Colleen.
IMPORTANT: The continued wearing of masks and social distancing will be required until such time as the population has reached enough successful and sustained immunity to render disease spread controlled. THIS INCLUDES THOSE WHO HAVE HAD THE DISEASE AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED. We anticipate this will take up to two years based on current information. It is not yet known whether boosters will be required.
Continued wearing of masks and social distancing are required because vaccination does not prevent infection. Vaccination reduces the severity of disease when infected, and hopefully reduces transmission significantly as well. In this manner it is expected that the COVID 19 pandemic will be contained.
We are still learning about COVID 19: our understanding of the disease, immunity, long term effects, and pandemic course will continue to change. As a result, recommendations will change as more information becomes available. Trust the science.
Security Family Medicine will continue to operate in ways deemed safest and most effective for our patients and for our staff. We appreciate your ongoing support, patience, and understanding as we navigate the next phase of the COVID 19 pandemic together.
Please continue to observe the practices of staying at home when feasible, wearing mouth and nose covering when out for essential activities, and social distancing.
How frequent and how devastating are waves of COVID
depends completely on our behavior.
Please note that exposure of our staff to persons suspected of COVID or COVID positive requires us to quarantine as well, causing not only complete disruption of our work flow but also potential illness in our staff and loved ones. Therefore, please do not under any circumstances present to our office in person with an unexplained illness or known or suspected COVID exposure.
Security Family Medicine will continue to operate on a modified team-based schedule. As we consider the need to preserve the safety of patients and staff while continuing to provide the best care, our biggest challenges will be how to maintain safe physical distance between individuals and how to maintain our physical spaces. Our policies includes staggered staff working in teams, using our inside and outside spaces, distributing supplies, and creative use of technology. We deeply appreciate your ongoing patience and support.
We have noted that different health systems in our region are approaching the process of resuming operations in different ways and at different speeds. At Security Family Medicine our approach is safety considerations first. We understand that our approach may result in frustration for some, and as always we value your trust in our process and our intent. As the situation is dynamic, we must remain flexible and ready to adjust our actions quickly. Complaints about local, regional, State, and Federal response to the COVID19 pandemic as well as concerns about insurance and access to care should be addressed to your government representatives.
Symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, cough, loss of smell or taste, abdominal pain, diarrhea, chills, unexplained rashes, blood clots, confusion, and excessive sleepiness are all linked with various strains of the novel CORONAVIRUS that causes COVID19. If you have any of these symptoms, or develop any other symptoms that are unexplained, please call our office for instructions. A reminder: if you have symptoms concerning for COVID and have been tested but your test is negative, you should still follow instructions for quarantine. It is estimated that 30% of people who actually have COVID19 will test negatively. Quarantine for symptoms requires refrain-from-contact duration to be at least 7 days from onset of symptoms, at least 24 hours without a fever, AND at least 3 days of improving symptoms. Quarantine for exposure requires at least 10 days of refrain-from-contact.
For more information, please visit the following websites:
While new testing methods are continually being developed, the gold standard for COVID testing continues to be the PCR test. The available rapid tests, while… rapid, are far less accurate, particularly when negative. As a result, quarantine recommendations cannot be dependent on rapid results. Rapid tests are convenient, available commercially, and offered in some medical practices, but as they often require repeat testing with PCR we continue to recommend the standard test.
The CDC and the PA Department of Health have recently shortened the recommended quarantine time for those with COVID and those with direct and significant COVID exposure. This adjustment is based on “acceptable risk”. Acceptable risk identifies the days after infection during which individuals are most likely to transmit COVID to another person. The new quarantine recommendations effectively cut off those days with lower (*but not zero*) risk of transmission to others. Please note this *does not* mean a person is no longer infectious, it just means that transmission under socially distant conditions is less likely while they are infectious.
We do know that people who have been confirmed COVID positive seem to carry antibodies for a time after infection, rendering that person resistant to repeat illness for some time. Remember that people resistant to illness still can become infected and spread to others. What is less clear is how long after infection people are resistant and how easily they can spread COVID to others during this period of resistance. There is ample evidence that COVID can infect and make ill those who have had previous infections.
The race to develop, approve, distribute, and administer a COVID vaccine is in full tilt. It appears that the first models to hit the market will employ a new method of vaccination using mRNA that exploits the CORONAVIRUS tactic for infecting cells. Also in development are more traditional models that use a known (benign) genetic vector to introduce our immune systems to CORONAVIRUS. No person will be required to become vaccinated, and vaccinations will be made available in a staged fashion based on risk. We continue to evaluate current research and will provide information when it becomes available. To find out where you might be in line for the vaccine please visit this tool:
Across the country communities are making the choice to limit activities into order to contain the current flood of COVID infections. In our community life sustaining activities and procedures are continuing while that which can be postponed, are. The medical needs of our community have put an unimaginable and unmanageable strain on the people and processes in health care. Across the spectrum health care providers of all stripes are being drafted to perform life saving maneuvers in unfamiliar circumstances and on the turn of a dime. We quite literally beg you to stay home and stay distant over the next 6-8 weeks to allow us to provide for those already in need of our attention and expertise.
We are doing everything we can at Security Family Medicine to stay healthy and stay open for our wonderful patients. Operational changes, while inconvenient at times, are required to maintain our standard of excellence. We appreciate and need your patience, grace, and kindness now more than ever.
Please stay home, stay masked, stay distant. Please stay safe.