In 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.3 million Americans went to the emergency room and were diagnosed with pneumonia—an infection where air sacs in the lungs become filled with infected fluid. Unfortunately, pneumonia not only increases your COVID-19 risk profile, but it has also become a serious complication for some who have already tested positive for COVID-19. So let’s break it down.Read More
President and CEO, Inspira Health
Inspira, along with most other health networks in the United States, are focusing our attention on three fronts—first and foremost, the care of our COVID-19 patients.
Responding to the Surge
As our number of COVID-19 patients grow, our readiness plans steer us for how to optimally treat patients at our primary care practices, our urgent care centers, our emergency departments and our hospitals. Be assured, as you hear the media once again start to use the term “surge,” to describe New Jersey’s COVID-19 status, Inspira is re-allocating our resources, ready to respond.
Expanding the Availability of the COVID-19 Tests
We’re committed to providing high-quality care right in your backyard – offering convenience and innovation just a few steps from home. As such, we’ve made rapid and lab tests for COVID-19 available at nearly all of our Urgent Care locations. Due to high demand, all requests for COVID testing must be scheduled by phone. To schedule a COVID test appointment, simply call your Inspira Urgent Care location of choice.
To gain a better understanding of the tests and how to interpret the results, I recommend that you visit our website, Inspirahealthnetwork.org/COVID19. There is a detailed explanation of the three tests: rapid antigen testing, Viral Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for current infection; and the antibody testing for potential past infection of the virus.
We’ve made it possible to get your COVID test results as soon as they are available in real-time using your Inspira Patient Portal.
The Distribution of the Vaccine
Inspira stands ready to start the distribution of the vaccine to our frontline workers within 24 hours to receiving our initial supply. You may have seen tents that have been raised outside of our emergency departments at our medical centers in Mullica Hill and Vineland. They are our vaccination centers.
Acknowledge your feelings.
Almost two months ago, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) collabo-rated with health care partners and immunization stakeholders to submit a vaccine plan to the CDC. This plan encompasses suggested priority groups for vaccination, logistics of vaccine storage and handling, health care provider recruitment, tracking and reporting of immunizations, etc.
The CDC has provided guidance to states that populations of focus for initial COVID-19 vaccination may include:
- Health care personnel likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19.
- People at risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including those with underlying medical conditions and people 65 years of age and older.
- Other essential workers such as first responders, etc.
The NJ DOH is developing plans to distribute vaccines in a fair, ethical, and transparent way and relying on guidance from federal agencies. Plans will be reviewed and adjusted accordingly once the amount of vaccine coming to New Jersey is known.
Look for more information to be available in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, during the holiday season, it is more important than ever to wear our masks—consistently and correctly; wash our hands often, and practice social distancing.
For patients who need a hospital stay to recover from this virus, our staff remains dedicated to making that patient feel the same level of comfort and trust that Peter Maroon felt during his recent experience at Inspira Medical Center Vineland. In his words, professionalism, confidence and the “little things” made all the difference.
Peter, age 51, a resident of Vineland, fell ill in early November. He first went to a hospital in central Jersey near his work. Peter was given IV fluids and told that he probably had COVID-19. But at home, he didn't get better, and some days he felt worse. After five days, he went to the Emergency Department at Inspira Medical Center Vineland.
"I had two of the best nurses you could ever dream of,” Peter said, referring to his primary nurse in the ER, Casandra Voulgarakis, and Meg Ridge, the nurse who cared for him when he was admitted for what would be a five-day inpatient stay.
Casandra's frequent check ins, and responsiveness to questions and requests impressed Peter. "She had a confidence about her," said Peter. “She knew her job, she was not apprehensive. I think she sensed how nervous I was. She gave me that sense, we've got this, don't worry."
Once admitted, Peter met Meg, also confident, attentive and professional. Her efforts kept Peter at ease while she explained his care plan, including the procedure for receiving convalescent plasma and Remdesivir.
"I was put completely at ease. She did her job with such professionalism," Peter said. "They [Meg and all the members of the care team] didn't make me feel like a patient. They made me feel like family, or a friend.”
As Peter continues his recovery at home, coughs still interrupt his conversations. His strength and stamina are coming back slowly as he adds more physical activity to his daily routine.
It is a privilege and an honor to serve you and the South Jersey community. Until we may have the chance to meet, stay safe and be well.