COVID-19 Virus Information for Patients
Renewed Hope Health Clinic now has the opportunity to do COVID-19 testing on site. We are scheduling tests now, and you must have an appointment. Please contact the office at 269-355-3053, press 0 and speak or leave a message with our administrative manager to schedule an appointment. Tests are free to those who would normally qualify for our services.
The clinic is now open again, with a few protocols to promote safe operation. Doors are locked to outside visitors, and you will be admitted once we confirm that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and that you are wearing a mask. You will be asked to sanitize your hands upon entry. If you do not need to enter, business will be conducted at the door or outside.
Administrative staff are now back in the office, ensuring a return to normal clinic operations. However, there may be times when some or all staff may be working from home, especially if they have symptoms or if there is no need to be physically present at the clinic. We have new digital phone and computer systems that provide the same access to clinic operations from home to our staff, except that paper charts may not be available, so some tasks may take longer to complete if they require access to your paper chart and visit history.
We are again holding regular office visits every second Saturday, as volunteer medical staff are available. If you are a current patient with routine needs, feel free to call the office to speak to us or leave a message, and we will schedule an appointment for you. Refills and referrals may be handled between appointment dates if you do not need to see the doctor in person. Our medical staff may be able to conduct some business between appointment dates by telephone, and in some cases, may be able to conduct more in-depth phone consultations if they deem it is appropriate. Our counseling/behavioral health services are also being offered by telephone at this time.
Allegan General Hospital is offering telehealth medicine at $20/visit. We recommend this option for any urgent situation that cannot be dealt with over the phone. We may be able to handle routine refills and issues (calling in prescriptions for simple infections, simple mental health, etc) over the phone, but you are encouraged to do the telehealth appointment for $20 if you are a new patient, or have a case that is too complex for our doctors to deal with. Use the code HOME and visit: this link.
For our regular patients, if you call is non-urgent and is not appropriate for Allegan Telehealth, then please leave a voicemail at the office (269) 355-3053, or email our executive director. Emails and voicemails will be returned within 24-48 hours. If your case is time sensitive and cannot wait for a return call or email on our next business day, you can reach the emergency office line at (269) 358-8839, but only for urgent cases that cannot wait for a return call or email when we are open.
We are a health care partner for the uninsured on the front lines addressing the current outbreak of COVID-19. Below is some helpful and key information that you should know.
- Symptoms of the virus are mild to severe in nature. They includ cough, fever, and shortness of breath. In the most severe cases, patients develop organ failure and/or pneumonia in both lungs.
- If you are experiencing these symptoms and they are mild, you will likely be advised to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days. There is no cure, vaccine or medicine that will lessen the severity of symptoms, other than usual treatment for the flu (hydration, rest, treatment of other symptoms like fever and congestion with over-the-counter medication.
- See medical attention when your symptoms worsen, particularly around shortness of breath and coughing. When you or others around you have traveled in areas of the world with proven exposure to the virus (and been in close proximity to someone who could possibly be infected), you may have the COVID-19 virus. If you are experiencing bouts of coughing and trouble catching your breath, it’s time to go to the emergency room to get tested, after you call ahead to let them know you are coming.
- The virus originated in Asia, but it appears that people of all ages and ethnic groups are all susceptible to carry the virus, spread it and become infected. Most people will experience mild symptoms comparable to a regular flu. This strain is most detrimental to those with underlying health conditions (lung disease, diabetes, compromised immune systems), and to the elderly. Healthy children and adults are less at risk at this time, although they can carry the virus and spread it to others.
- COVID-19 is spread by being in close proximity to others who have the virus. It is thought that inhaling respiratory droplets from an infected individual that are airborne after they sneeze or cough is the primary mode of transmission. Touching an infected surface and then touching one’s eyes mouth or nose is another way the virus is spread.
For COVID-19, given the necessary timeliness of diagnosis and treatment, we are not a primary facility that can diagnose this viral infection immediately. Our testing services are available, but are offered based on volunteer availability. We do not have walk-in tests and often do not even have tests to offer within the upcoming week. If you exhibit the classic COVID-19 symptoms, you can call the Michigan DHS COVID-19 hotline number at 1-888-535-6136 to confirm and get the latest protocols and information on the disease. This is staffed by health professionals with the latest information that is changing by the day and sometimes by the hour. If they suggest that you get tested, you will undergo a telehealth video visit and then if referred, call ahead to the hospital in Kalamazoo or Grant Rapids, letting them know you are coming, and transport yourself there privately for testing. We anticipate the numbers of tests will be more greatly available in the coming days, and uninsured patients will get free testing (as announced by the federal government).
Our testing is most appropriate to diagnose you with COVID-19 if the timing of test availability works out to match when you are experiencing symptoms. Do not wait for a test appointment with us if one will not be available for some time, we will advise you to get tested in Kalamazoo, Holland or Grand Rapids if that is the case since we are currently planning to offer testing every 2 weeks. Our tests are appropriate for confirming that you are negative or have recovered from the virus after you have tested positive.
Best strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and becoming infected:
- maintain a social distance barrier of 6 feet from others while in public
- Do not shake hands, hug or kiss
- Cough into your elbow/sleeve/tissue, and dispose of tissues in a covered trash receptacle. Do not touch trash.
- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces often. The virus can live on some surfaces anywhere from a minimum of 6 hours and up to 3 days.
- Wash your hands often with soap/water and rub vigorously/thoroughly for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or greater if water/soap are not available. Washing is essential after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, using the bathroom, eating/preparing food or touching an infected surface
- Try not to ever touch your face (eyes, mouth or nose) unless absolutely necessary
- Most importantly, If you are ill or have symptoms, stay home.
Every day preventative action is the best way to prevent and delay infection. Strategies in place to prevent people from congregating in large groups are intended to slow the spread of the disease so as not to overwhelm the health care system, in order to maintain the capacity to be able to treat those with the most serious symptoms when they require it. Unfortunately, it is likely that most people may be exposed at one point or another over the next few months, but if the progression is sufficiently slowed, only a small number of serious cases will occur at any one time, which is far more manageable for doctors and hospitals.
We recommend that you visit the following links to find fact-based information and updates as they occur:
Again, the key resources are the links above, and the Michigan DHS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-535-6136. If you are experiencing economic hardship with paying bills, rent or food, a number of community agencies and federal programs are popping up to help. Some places to start, if you are experiencing difficulties,Dialing 211 gives you access to locally based information on resources available to help you.
Questions? Please call us at 269-355-3053, press 0 from the main menu and speak to our administrative manager or leave a message for a call-back. Thank you.