Q: Has Zion been treating COVID patients and, if so, for how long?
A: Yes, we treat COVID patients at Zion and we’ve been doing so since it started almost two years ago.
We’ve seen patients of different severity, and we have actually helped a couple of hundred patients who were infected with COVID.
Q: How are you able to help and not just test those who have COVID?
A: Actually, there are many different treatments available for those infected with COVID.
Unfortunately, because of controversies, a lot of patients are not getting what they should. Even at some Emergency Rooms, patients are barely getting any symptomatic treatments.
This has all led to Zion Urgent Care Clinic becoming known as one of the local Katy-Fulshear clinics where COVID patients are treated.
Q: Does treating COVID actually work?
A: Since early in the pandemic, we sought to provide reasonable treatments to all patients who needed help. Even back then, by watching how patients respond to various treatments, you could actually know whether or not they are feeling and getting better.
At this time, now in 2022, there are even more clearly approved options as well. For example, we don’t necessarily need to prescribe infusions anymore, new ,oral treatments are being made available.. This makes me very happy to be able to treat and care for patients battling with or suffering from COVID.
Q: We hear a lot in the news about COVID testing sites, but can people actually come to Zion if they have COVID to try to get help besides getting tested?
A: Yes, definitely. Testing is available in many places. With home tests being made available to every American household, tests are around.
While we provide testing, we are also happy to provide treatment. So if anyone tests positive for COVID and is still symptomatic and they need help, we are very happy and able to help them in many ways.
Q: What is the difference between a COVID-19 test I can take myself at home now versus what Zion offers?
A: I think it is great that people have in-home test options. But at Zion, we have PCR machines in the clinic, so we’re able to give PCR test results back within an hour. PCR test results are accepted as being more accurate than the other type of tests out there and are also the ones generally required for international travel, and so we’re delighted to be able to offer this to our community. We are usually able to give the PCR results in 40 minutes, while patients are still in our clinic.
Q: Traveling internationally is especially confusing these days. Do you offer the quick COVID-19 test results for those in a rush?
A: Yes, and for travelers who sometimes have short time windows, the fact that we actually have an onsite lab and an onsite PCR machine can make a big difference.
Q: What about the controversy in the news about what the government is allowing various health practitioners to offer? How are you able to treat people when there is news about people not being able to get treatment?
In medicine, you always try to find the best treatments that would work for each specific individual patient. There is no blanket treatment you can offer for everyone who has tested positive.
As long as a medication is an approved medication and has been previously given to humans with successful medical outcomes, we haven’t seen any problem with that medication being considered as a part of a treatment regimen.
Q: Will insurance cover if I come in for treatment after I’m sick with COVID?
A: In terms of the prescriptions, we haven’t had any problems. Actually, most medications that can be used for this purpose are very cheap, so insurances have no problem filling them.
Q: Are there any age constraints on how old or how young someone has to be for you to see them for COVID treatment?
A: Symptomatic patients tend to be commonly adults, and severe symptoms are even more common in adults with some high-risk profiles – things like obesity, previous lung and heart issues, hypertension, things like that.
But, again, it’s always an individual assessment. You only treat people when there is a definite perceived risk of them getting worse without the treatments.
Q: If I have a 5-year-old and they’ve got COVID and have symptoms, can I bring them to your clinic?
A: They can be seen definitely at Zion, just like any other 5-year-old not feeling well.
You know, some children, after they get any viral infection, they can progress easily into pneumonia and other complications that are not specific to COVID.
So for any child you know who’s been coughing for more than three days and is having difficulty eating, sleeping, breathing, or is having persistent high-grade fevers, it’s advisable to get them to be evaluated.
Luckily, children with COVID usually do not require that. From what I’ve seen, COVID for children has almost always been a mild illness. We end up spending time reassuring parents and advising them to give the fluids and fever medications.
Q: What about some of the more popular treatments that have been in the news, such as ivermectin? Are those possible treatments for people who come to the clinic?
A: Again, you know all of those are controversial. Generally speaking, ivermectin is much less used for humans in the USA as its used to treat parasites that are not that common. However, it is a medication used all over the world in other countries for humans.
It’s not that ivermectin would really cause any major harm if it was prescribed for COVID, but I don’t really believe it has a lot of benefits for COVID patients.
Before any medical decision, we always need to talk about the potential benefit and the potential harm for each individual patient before considering a treatment.
Q: So are medications like hydroxychloroquine, etc., all possibilities?
A: They are all possible, but all of these are continually being reassessed every day. If you’ve heard, even Remdesivir is not anymore considered to be very beneficial. It used to be the first line in the hospitals the first few months of the pandemic.. There are newer medications which seem to be promising as well, and which are becoming more available.
Again, you know, COVID-19 is so new that there is no standard treatment guideline for COVID as of yet.
So after considering whatever medications and treatments are available, and assessing whether they could be beneficial, we also discuss with our patients whether something is FDA approved, EUA authorized or an experimental treatment.
All of that needs to be discussed with each patient before he or she is given anything.
We always have a clear discussion of benefits and risks before prescribing any medications to our patients, including antibiotics, etc.
You know, for all medications, the benefits and risks of taking it is never really crystal clear or simple.
Q: I’ve heard some emergency rooms are sending patients or referring patients to you for treatment? How does that work, because I thought emergency rooms are where people go when they need quick and serious help?
A: I know. I can’t say exactly why. It is also shocking and surprising that patients who are positive with COVID would go to emergency rooms, some with many symptoms and kind of scared for their lives, only to be turned away – not even fully assessed.
We know everyone has been working under incredible limitations and stressful resource conditions. But we found that really distressing. There are so many things that can be done with whatever short time was available – I can’t help but wonder if things could have been done better.
It’s not that we at Zion Urgent Care have more to offer than emergency rooms do. Yet we have emergency rooms referring patients to us for COVID-related symptomatic treatment.
Q: If somebody tests positive for COVID and they’re feeling some symptoms, what would you recommend? What steps can they take on their own, and when might they consider going to a clinic or hospital?
A: Especially with the current or the recent wave, most patients experience mild symptoms. We have seen that those who are vaccinated, not even boosted but just vaccinated, often have mild symptoms, respiratory just coughing, sore throat, and fever without severe signs like shortness of breath.
We recommend that they wait at home in isolation for up to three days, to see if their symptoms begin clearing up on their own.
If in three days they’re not getting better, or if at any time they feel they’re having shortness of breath, we would obviously want to see them.
On our end, our first course of action for most patients would be to recommend treatments that would help the inflammation from getting any worse.