Public Health Advisory: Meritus Health, Dec. 29, 2021

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In the last seven days, officials from Meritus Health say more than 4,000 people have used Meritus Health’s Drive Thru COVID-19 testing center, with more than 950 people coming for testing in a day, several times this week.

According to the health system’s President and CEO Dr. Maulik Joshi, during the last two days, the positivity rate for the more than 2,000 tests processed by Meritus Medical Lab exceeded 30 percent.

“Our teams continue to stand outside in the December weather, often hours after their shifts have ended, because testing is paramount to stopping the spread of this virus,” he explains.

Inside Meritus Medical Center, Joshi said teams are treating more than 70 patients with COVID-19.

“Our teams are doing everything they can, but we continue to see patients die. In the last seven days, 10 COVID-19 patients have died at Meritus Medical Center,” he says.

Adding to the challenges, Joshi says, is copious numbers of community members arriving to the hospital who are very sick with ailments in addition to COVID-19.

“Last night, we had community members experience extreme wait times at our emergency department. It is so important that we each consider the appropriate level of care for medical issues we are experiencing,” he says. “Meritus Health continues to seek opportunities to offer easy access to the care our community members need, especially during challenging times like the one we face.”

Joshi recommends other Meritus Health clinics for patients to receive the correct level of care including Meritus Primary Care, Meritus Urgent Care or Meritus After Hours Pediatrics.

For the last year, five primary care providers from Meritus Health have dedicated time to an after-hours virtual care clinic. Appointments are available from 7:00-10:30 p.m. and patients may schedule them directly through the MyChart patient portal used by the entire health system.

This service allows patients to speak with a medical provider, without leaving home. While there are some guardrails as to what is appropriate and beneficial for a virtual care clinic appointment, it’s an option for someone who has received a COVID-19 positive test result and may have questions about treating their symptoms from home.

To set a same-day appointment for the Meritus virtual care clinic, patients should go to the MyChart patient portal main page, find a time that works best and let the clinic know what the most important thing they would like addressed during the visit. Once those steps are complete, a window showing a scheduled time and the link to click to get into that virtual appointment will pop up on their portal’s page.

“I share these numbers not to frighten or alarm people in the community, but to arm them with information to help them make decisions to improve their health,” Joshi says. “Please, consider COVID-19 vaccination if you have not. If you are vaccinated, please get a booster when the time is right.”