Important COVID-19 & Vaccine Update

January 5, 2021

COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATE

There are now two vaccines being distributed across the country, one by Pfizer and the other by Moderna.  This update represents Salina Family Healthcare Center’s understanding of the current situation related to COVID-19 vaccination.  Please be aware that information being provided to local leaders is often coming at the same time it is being released to the general public.  There is much uncertainty in the entire process, which to some degree is understandable.  SFHC hopes that updating what we do know helps the community feel more confident that the vaccine is coming.  Please hold on.  Keep masking.  Keep social distancing.  Vaccinate when your group is called.

  1. Initial supply of vaccine is insufficient to vaccinate all who want it.  Thus, decision makers at the federal and state government levels have created a system of distribution and vaccination to begin the process of COVID-19 vaccination.
  2. Using federal guidance, state leaders set the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination.  Vaccinating those at greatest risk of complications of COVID-19 (nursing home residents) and those working in the healthcare field were tagged to receive the initial doses.
  3. National leaders tasked large chain pharmacies with vaccinating those in nursing homes.
  4. National leaders tasked hospitals, health departments, and federally-qualified community health centers with vaccinating healthcare workers. 
  5. Locally, initial vaccine supply has been received by Salina Regional Health Center, the Saline County Health Department, and Salina Family Health Care Center.  Vaccination of healthcare workers has begun.
  6. Salina Regional Health Center, the Saline County Health Department, and Salina Family Health Care Center are collaborating to identify and vaccinate groups that meet the criteria set forth by the federal and state governments.
  7. Over time, additional groups will be added to broaden those identified as eligible to receive the vaccine.  Timing of this broadening is uncertain and is again guided at the state level.  It is our understanding that the next groups to be added are those over age 75 years of age and groups identified as essential workers.  What qualifies as an essential worker is not fully certain at this time.
  8. It is our understanding that as vaccine supply increases additional healthcare providers will be identified as COVID-19 vaccination providers, although the timing and extent of this process is uncertain at this time.

Please know that we are entering a period of COVID-19 vaccine scarcity.  Supply does not meet the immediate demand.  Hopefully, national leaders and vaccine manufacturers remedy this mismatch as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, please know that local leaders tasked with the local rollout are working diligently to make the process as smooth as possible.


GENERAL COVID-19 UPDATES

Salina and the surrounding areas are currently seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.  Unfortunately, deaths have begun to follow that increase, as well. Salina Family Healthcare Center (SFHC) takes the health and safety of our community seriously.  In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, SFHC has taken the following steps:

  • We are encouraging the limitation of visitors to patient and essential caregivers only.
  • Expanding our telephone and telemedicine services to allow for care to be done without a face-to-face visit.  Talk to our staff about setting up a visit with a medical or behavioral health provider via the phone or on our new telemedicine platform!  All you need is a smartphone or a webcam-enabled computer.
  • Screening all employees and patients entering our building for symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • Creating an isolated care area with a separate entrance for those patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.  This helps us take good care of ALL of our patients, those with possible COVID-19 and those without it.

For All Patients:

Masks Required for Entry –Masks are mandated for all patients and visitors entering our building.  Please bring your own mask as we are limited in the number of masks we have available. 

Testing for COVID-19:

We know there are many of our patients who have questions about testing for COVID-19.  Here is where SFHC is with testing:

  • SFHC now has IN-HOUSE testing for COVID-19.  Results may be known in as little as 15 minutes.  Symptoms warranting COVID-19 testing include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, chills, diarrhea, or loss of sense of taste or smell.  Asymptomatic patients with exposure to others with COVID-19 may warrant testing, as well. 
  • Employer instructions to get a COVID-19 test at your doctor’s office without another listed reason for testing is not a sufficient reason to get a test.
  • If you feel like you have COVID-19 and might need testing, please call SFHC to discuss your symptoms and other factors that might warrant a test.
  • SFHC now has free, saliva-based tests available. Community members can request kit(s) at the front door, without entering the building. You will follow the included instructions to administer the test and ship the completed test via prepaid FedEx. To get results, you will need a cellphone that accepts text messages.

Our advice to you:

It can be a little overwhelming to know what you can do to help avoid COVID-19.  Here is our advice:

  • Stay home whenever possible.  Avoid gathering with those outside of your household.
  • Wear a mask when you are out in public.
  • Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others when you do need to go out.
  • Regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
  • Completely cover your cough with the inside of your elbow.
  • If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, quarantine for 10 days.

Here is our advice if you are ill:

  • Stay home and away from others as much as possible.
  • Here is what COVID-19 may look like: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, congestion, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of sense of taste or smell
  • If you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms but are not seriously ill, isolate yourself from others for 7 days after symptoms start or 3 days after symptoms end, whichever is longer.  Also consider getting a test through your primary care provider.  If you are seriously ill, go to the ER.
  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. 
  • Stay hydrated.
  • If you are concerned about your symptoms or that you have underlying risk for serious illness, please call us (785-825-7251).  We want to help you.

Section 3202(b) of the CARES Act requires all providers that order or provide COVID-19 testing to publicly post their charge to the provider’s public internet website. Salina Family Healthcare Center’s charge for the clinically-indicated COVID-19 test is $150. Additional charges for office visits may apply.

Other Resources

CDC KDHE Proning Instructions KDHE VACCINE INFO Kansas Vaccine