NTPHP COVID-19 Update For Our Patients

The health of our patients and their families remains at the center of all decisions NTPHP make as a group. As restrictions in DFW begin to lift in the coming days, continued isolation and vigilance is important, especially for our high-risk patients. We want to continue to provide information on the steps our practice is taking to keep both our patients and team members healthy.

What processes has NTPHP adopted to ensure patient and team member safety?

We are actively adapting our processes to ensure your safety and have adopted the processes listed below. In addition, we continue to offer Televisits for patients who do not wish to come into the office. We are also actively monitoring and adhering to the latest guidance provided by the CDC, and our local and state agencies.

  • Screening – All patients requesting in-office visits are screened through a series of questions about their symptoms at appointment scheduling, appointment confirmation, and arrival onsite.
  • Temperature checks – All staff are advised to check their temperature twice a day, once in the morning and once after work. Additionally, we check the temperature of all patients and visitors who arrive onsite for visits. Anyone with a temperature greater than 99.6F is asked to reschedule their visit and we will have the provider contact them ASAP.
  • Infection Control – Our teams follow a rigid cleaning schedule to sanitize all surfaces, especially workspaces, exam rooms, bathrooms, and waiting areas.
  • Mask – All patients and staff are required to wear a cloth face covering from home while in the practice.

How you keep yourself safe as restrictions are lifted in Texas

As restrictions in Texas begin to be lifted in a phased approach, we should remain cautious by continuing to follow the critical health guidelines outlined below. It is also important to continue to practice social distancing when out in public to limit physical contact with those around you.

  • Stay at home if you can, especially if you fall into the high-risk category.
  • Wash your hands often and for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, doorknobs, and other places touched often.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

It is equally important to familiarize yourself with the Governor’s report to open Texas. We have included a link below for easy access to that document.

The Governor’s Report to Open Texas

DFW updates:

Below we have listed information about the total number of cases by county in the DFW metroplex as of April 29, 2020. Collin County

  • Total Cases: 692
  • Percent of Total TX Cases: 2.6%

Dallas County

  • Total Cases: 3,240
  • Percent of Total TX Cases: 12%

Denton County

  • Total Cases: 738
  • Percent of Total TX Cases: 2.7%

Tarrant County

  • Total Cases: 2,088
  • Percent of Total TX Cases: 7.7%

Updated guidance on elective procedures at Baylor University Medical Center (BUMC)

BUMC has established a process to expand surgeries and support the safety of their patients and care team. They have minimized the pre-surgery process to reduce the amount of traffic through the hospital. The process will include the following:

  • Patients are required to complete COVID-19 testing (RT-PCR test and an antibody test) 48 hours prior to surgery. This testing must be completed Saturday through Wednesday from 7AM-3PM in Suite 170 of Wadley Tower. Each patient will receive a specific day and time to complete the testing.
  • A surgical navigator will be assigned as the patient’s primary point of contact throughout the process to answer questions or concerns they may have about the process or day of surgery.
  • Outpatient surgeries have resumed, but the hospital is prioritizing surgeries and procedures using the same multidisciplinary team that has been approving requests during the pandemic.
  • Patients arriving for pre-admit testing will be directed to use the BUMC Medical Plaza entrance on Washington Ave.

Updated guidance on elective procedures at BSW Plano

  • All Surgical patients & GI Endoscopy patients will be screened in the Hospitalist run PAT Clinic now temporarily located in Pavilion 1, Suite 830.
  • Cases should be scheduled at least 72 hours in advance, if possible.
  • RT PCR COVID testing will be done in PAT, along with other necessary pre-admit testing.
  • PAT will be scheduled by the hospital after case has been scheduled to accommodate requirement for RT PCR to be done 48 hours prior to the scheduled surgery date. Patients with a planned surgery on Mondays or Tuesdays will be asked to return to the ED on Saturday/Sunday, respectively, to obtain nasopharyngeal samples for COVID testing.
  • Any positive test will be communicated to the patient’s primary surgeon to determine course of action.
  • Urgent cases that cannot be delayed will be conducted under Enhanced Surgical Precautions.

Coping with stress and anxiety during a pandemic

Any time we hear, read, or watch the news today, we are exposed to the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our daily lives. Being exposed to this information can cause you to feel anxious and show signs of stress – even when the virus is not directly impacting you or your loved one’s health. These signs of stress are normal and are likely more pronounced in people who have loved ones who are impacted or live in regions where there is widespread exposure. Considering the current pandemic, monitor your own physical and mental health by knowing the signs of stress in yourself and loved ones, educate yourself on ways to relieve stress and know when you should get help.

The common signs of anxiety and stress are behavioral, physical, emotional, and cognitive responses. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) outlined in a recent article entitled “Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks” common signs associated with each of these categories. We have included some of those below for your benefit.

Your Behavior:

  • Increase or decrease in your energy and activity levels
  • Increase in use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances
  • Increased irritability
  • Trouble sleeping and relaxing
  • Excessive worrying

Your Body:

  • Stomachaches or diarrhea
  • Headaches and other pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating or chills
  • Easily startled

Your Emotions:

  • Feeling anxious or fearful
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling angry
  • Feeling overwhelmed by sadness
  • Lack of caring

Cognitive Response or Thinking:

  • Trouble remembering things
  • Feeling of confusion
  • Trouble thinking clearly and concentrating
  • Difficulty making decision

Once you know how to recognize the signs of stress, you must move toward knowing how to relieve it. This can be done by keeping things in perspective, knowing the facts, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and the utilization of relaxation methods. The first, and most important, is to keep things in perspective. You can accomplish this by balancing the amount time spent watching or reading news about the outbreak. Also find reliable resources, like your physician, state and local health departments and U.S. governmental agencies for accurate and up to date information. It is also recommended to use practical ways to relax. Some examples of how this can be accomplished are listed below.

  • Taking deep breaths, stretching, exercise, and meditation
  • Pace yourself between stressful activities
  • Express your feelings to loved ones and friends.

Lastly, you should pay attention to your body, feelings, and spirit by taking time to renew yourself through meditation or prayer, recognizing the early warning signs of stress, and self-reflecting on your own past experiences and how they have affected your ways of thinking.

Most importantly, know that NTPHP is here to answer questions and play a role in your fight against stress and anxiety during the current pandemic.

Antibody Testing

In recent days, you may have read or heard information about SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing. Antibody testing (IgM/IgG) looks for a patient’s immune system reaction to COVID-19. These tests do not look for the actual virus but look for ways that your body has responded to the virus. As do all viruses, COVID-19 has different parts (antigens) that each have a certain function. The antibody test looks for the body’s immune reaction to these different antigens which show in the results of antibody testing. We have simplified the definitions of the antibody’s (IgM and IgG) below.

  • IgM – These are immunoglobulins that include the primary antibodies that are released into the bloodstream early in the immune response. These immunoglobulins typically show up 3 to 7 days after exposure to the virus, but eventually disappear.
  • IgG – These antibodies are released into the blood stream later in the immune response and are considered memory immunoglobulins that may help defend your body against future viruses. These antibodies typically appear 7 to 14 days and can last indefinitely.

Antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 is a rapidly developing area of science. Most available tests are not yet FDA-approved and results of these tests are not intended to diagnose COVID-19 illness. In addition, the science is not clear if presence of IgG memory antibody confers immunity and therefore protection against future infection. We do anticipate that there will be more guidance on the use of these tests and local availability of the test that are FDA approved to come out soon. If you are interested in learning more about antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2, please contact your personal physician to discuss the testing options.

Nutritional updates: ordering takeout and delivery

Making the healthiest choice when ordering out is not always easy and the fear of staying healthy is currently a big concern. Below are some tips on how to accomplish both during this time.

1. Keep your family safe and healthy

A. Wash hands and sanitize: When picking up food, make sure to sanitize your hands after you sign the check. Once you are home wash your hands before you unpack your food and again before you sit down to eat.

B. Food safety: Plan pickup and delivery times around when you plan to sit down and eat your food. It is best to eat your food while it is still hot. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of picking up your meal. Store leftovers safely—wrap tightly and refrigerate any dishes with meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products—be sure to reheat these leftovers thoroughly before eating.

2. Menu terms to be mindful of

A. Unhealthy terms: Crunchy, crispy, battered, breaded, fried, creamy, cheesy

B. Healthy terms: Baked, grilled, roasted, steamed

3. Swapping sides

A. Limit fries and chips: Consider steamed vegetables or fruit as a side option, when available

B. Sauces : Request that any sauces or dressings be served on the side. Limit creamy sauces and dressings. Try to use more oil-based options.

4. Incorporate all food groups

A. Grains: Choose whole grains when you can, such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta or whole grain bread.

B. Protein: Look for a good lean protein option such as fish, chicken, pork or a lean cut of beef

C. Fruit: Try to have low sugar fruits such as blueberries, orange slices or strawberries.

D. Vegetables: Eat a variety such as squash, broccoli or carrots.

5. Plate your food

A. Portion control: Instead of eating out of the containers, plate your food for a more appropriate portion size. Try to save part of your meal for later.

B. Eating as a family: Even though you are not cooking together, try to still eat together as a family. Involve your kids and let them put takeout or delivery food on plates, so they can feel like a part of the process.

NTPHP’s choices when ordering to-go

  • R&D Kitchen: The Newporter (no bacon)
  • TJ’s Seafood: TJ’s Fish tacos on corn tortilla
  • Hudson House: American Tuna Tower
  • Flower Child: Mother Earth with Chicken or Salmon **Great family meal options
  • Origin: Burger Salad (sub bison)
  • Dive: California red quinoa bowl **Great Take and Bake options
  • Royal China: Moo-goo-gai-pan with brown rice
  • Parigi: Grilled Faroe Island Salmon/Market…Roasted Brussels Sprouts…Balsamic Gastrique
  • Eatzis: Build your own meal (Chicken, turkey or salmon) with double side of veggies
  • José: Farro Salad with Chicken or shrimp
  • Bangkok City (Dr. Brodsky’s Favorite): Green Curry Tofu, Tofu Spring Rolls
  • Vietnam Restaurant: Chicken or Tofu Pho

We know this is a difficult time for everyone. As always, our team is here for you and if you need any assistance at all, please do not hesitate to call our office.

North Texas Preferred Health Partners