Trisha Jones, RN Director of Clinical Services at Medlink Georgia, Inc. in Colbert, recently responded to questions posed by The Madison County Journal
Is MedLink performing COVID-19 testing?
Yes, MedLink Georgia does have testing capabilities but we have a very limited supply of testing kits. Currently, we are performing COVID-19 testing based on CDC testing criteria: healthcare workers with symptoms, patients 65 years of age and older with symptoms, and patients with underlying conditions with symptoms
What is the protocol for seeing patients?
If you need to be seen we are asking that patients call ahead for appointment scheduling at 706-521-3113. We have divided our appointment schedule to include separate appointment times for "well" patients and "sick" patients.
MedLink Georgia Pharmacy has also created a curbside pick up service. There is no need to come inside for your prescription. Patients can now pull into the designated pharmacy parking space, call the number on the sign to speak directly to the pharmacy, and the pharmacy will deliver the prescription to your vehicle.
MedLink Georgia is providing both drive-up and telehealth appointment options for our patients. Both drive-up appointments and telehealth appointments are a key part of protecting our local community. By providing these service options we are able to better protect our most vulnerable patient populations as well as set an example for our community about social distancing practices.
Telehealth is a virtual appointment with a healthcare provider. These visits can occur from the patient's home or at any location where the patient can access the Internet.
Drive-up appointments may be scheduled not only for patients who are sick but also for patients who are in need of routine follow up appointment.
If patients prefer to see their provider in person, this of course is still an option. MedLink Georgia is monitoring CDC guidelines and updates on a daily basis and continues to work diligently to find the safest ways to provide necessary healthcare resources to our community.
How is MedLink Georgia keeping their healthcare workers and the community safe?
MedLink Georgia currently has several operation measures in place and we use current CDC recommendations as our standard of practice.
We screen our employees multiple times using temperature and symptom screenings.
We screen all patients and visitors prior to entering the facility including temperature and symptom screenings.
We have limited visitors to one visitor per patient on an as-needed basis.
Outside of disinfection between patients, our centers have built-in scheduled disinfection times throughout the day during which every surface, chair, door handle, and medical equipment is sanitized.
In the event that we are presented with a suspected case, our staff has protocols in place and we implement protective protocols immediately for the patient and the staff.
What do you tell patients who have a positive test result?
If a patient has a positive test result we provide instructions for home isolation using the follow CDC recommendations attached as our handout for patients.
Per the CDC, patients can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
•You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
•and other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
•and at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
What can the community do to help?
•Follow the guidance of the CDC and stay home as much as possible.
•Remember that social distancing does not mean continuing to get together with friends and family. •Approximately 80 percent of people who are exposed to the COVID-19 may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
•Consider partnering with MedLink Georgia: MedLink Georgia is a 501c(3) Non-Profit Community Health Center and relies on the generosity of Donations and Grants to continue to fulfill our Vision of serving over 46,000 individuals in Northeast Georgia. In this time of uncertainty, MedLink Georgia staff are here to serve you, your family and community. We not only want to ease your fears around COVID-19 but we want to protect all individuals, patients, staff, families, and the community at large from the transmission of the virus. We are asking for your help by partnering with us to not only protect front-line staff but also individuals and families who either have no one to protect them or the inability to access services and quality health care due to multiple barriers such as, being uninsured or living in poverty.
The organization has established a COVID-19 fund raising goal of $250,000.00 that will be used to cover medical and behavioral care expenses for those who cannot afford COVID-19 screening, health care, and treatment as well as for the purchase of personal protective equipment and supplies to protect front-line staff and patients.
•If you are able, we’d love for you to support us in helping to serve more individuals and families in our community. Your monetary or in-kind donation will go far to help us serve more and do more for all who are unable to do it themselves.
•You can make a donation by: Make a donation online via Credit Card or Paypal at http://medlinkga.org/donate.cfm
•Mail your check to MedLink Georgia, PO Box 459, Colbert, GA 30628, Attention: Director of Grants Management
•Drop off supplies/donations to your MedLink Community Health Center
•Many people have asked, "How can I help?" In addition to financial contributions to MedLink Georgia, we could also benefit from the following donated supplies: surgical face masks or N95 masks, sanitizing wipes or surface disinfectant, hand sanitizer; ear or oral thermometer probes (Braun 4000, Braun 6000, Genesis 2, Welch Allyn Oral); isolation gowns