AGG COVID-19 UPDATES

UPDATE ON COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update from AGG

 

9/5/2021: Updated COVID-19 Policies

To our patients,

    While vaccination has done a lot to help our community, COVID-19 remains a threat, especially to the members of our community who are older and have underlying medical problems.  For that reason, at AGG, we are continuing to take the following steps to keep our patients safe.

  1. We recommend ALL patients receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccine regimens.
  2. Whether you are vaccinated of not, we continue to require that masks be properly worn when inside the office.
  3. If experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 infection (cough, fever, trouble breathing) or if you are NOT vaccinated and have had recent contact with a person with a known infection, we ask that you do not come to the office.  Call your primary care doctor to see if and where you need to go for testing or go to the ER if you are having severe symptoms.
  4. In order to spend less time in the office waiting room, new patients, please fill out all forms prior to your visit.
  5. Finally, please be aware that as the threat of COVID-19 changes (both for the better or for the worse), pre-procedure policies may change.  While it is currently mandated by the State of New Jersey that UNvaccinated patients undergo COVID-19 testing prior to procedures, that is not required of patients who ARE vaccinated.  However, the decision to require ALL patients, regardless of vaccination status, to undergo preprocedure COVID-19 testing remains with the individual centers (Garden State Endoscopy Center, Overlook Medical Center, Trinitas Regional Medical Center) at which the procedure is being done.

    Hopefully, through continued vaccination, masks, and social distancing, together, we can continue to serve our patients while at the same time, keeping everyone safe while we get through the continued threat of COVID-19.

 

 

Coronavirus and IBD/AIH patients

As a practice treating both Autoimmune Liver Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease), we have many patients on therapy that is designed to suppress the immune system and could put them at risk of infections like COVID-19 (the Coronavirus).  These medications include:

  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
  • Golimumab (Simponi)
  • Ustekinumab (Stelara)
  • Vedolizumab (Entyvio)
  • Azathioprine
  • 6-Mercaptopurine
  • Methotrexate
  • Steroids (Prednisone, Methylprednisone, etc…)

While these medications do put you at a slightly higher risk of viral infections, it is currently felt that the risk of untreated autoimmune disease causes patients a greater threat and it is currently NOT recommended that patients stop there medications UNLESS they are diagnosed with an infection.  If you are currently on any of these medications, here are some things you can do to help decrease your risk of both COVID-19 and any other infections:

  • GET VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19 (neither autoimmune diseases nor the medications we use to treat them should stop you from getting vaccinated)
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands after any public contact and periodically throughout the day.
  • Get the flu and pneumonia vacccines.
  • Call us immediately should you have any fever, cough, or contact with someone known to have the COVID-19 infection.

For more information regarding Inflammatory bowel disease and the COVID-19 infection, please visit the links below:

                https://www.ioibd.org/ioibd-update-on-covid19-for-patients-with-crohns-disease-and-ulcerative-colitis/

                            

From all of us at AGG, please stay safe.