COVID-19 Updates For VPFW Patients
*Important Notice about Scheduling Mammograms around COVID-19 vaccination*
Please note that due to an increased likelihood of temporarily enlarged lymph nodes resulting from COVID-19 vaccination, the Society of Breast Imaging recommends that screening mammograms be scheduled either prior to or at least six weeks after completion of the COVID-19 vaccine series, and not in between a first and second vaccine dose. This is to minimize callbacks due to a temporary condition that could be confused with a more serious problem.
We will leave it up to the patient to determine when they feel comfortable having their mammogram and will only cancel appointments if a patient requests us to do so. Please call us at 804-897-2100 and press 2 to speak with a phone nurse if you have any questions or need to reschedule. Learn more about our mammography services offered at our St. Francis, Midlothian Turnpike, Prince George and West Creek offices.
A note about the COVID-19 vaccine (updated March 25, 2021 to include a study on pregnant and lactating women)
Our VPFW physicians have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine through Bon Secours and HCA. They recommend that patients, including pregnant and breastfeeding patients, receive the vaccine when they are eligible, as long as they do not have specific situations which would make vaccination contraindicated.
According to the CDC, based on current knowledge, experts believe that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines) are unlikely to pose a risk to the pregnant person, the fetus, or breastfeeding infant.
*UPDATE AS OF MARCH 25, 2021: The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are just as effective in pregnant and lactating women as women who are not pregnant, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Vaccine-induced antibody levels were “strikingly higher” than those resulting from coronavirus infection during pregnancy. The study also showed that women passed protective antibodies to their newborns via the placenta and breastmilk.
For pregnant women who choose to receive the vaccine, acetaminophen may be offered as an option if they experience a fever or other post-vaccination symptoms.
While VPFW recommends vaccination, the choice is up to each patient. This is a decision tool to help you make an informed decision on whether to get vaccinated. Here are the Spanish and Russian versions of the decision tool.
Information about distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination is changing frequently. Check the Virginia Department of Health website for updates on when specific groups are eligible for vaccination and how they will be able to receive the vaccine. The Frequently Asked Questions page contains helpful information. (Scroll down to the “Vaccination: Vaccine Distribution” section.)
We’re here when you’re ready.
With careful consideration for our patients’ safety and medical needs and following guidance from the CDC and the state of Virginia, VPFW’s offices are open for all appointment types, including annual exams and mammograms. The Surgery Center at VPFW, our ambulatory surgery suite, is also open for outpatient surgeries including elective surgeries. If you are ready to be examined, screened and/or treated, we’re here to provide you with the care you need.
What safety precautions can you expect?
Our top priority is providing a safe environment for quality care so that VPFW remains one of the safest places you can be outside of your home.
Are things back to business as usual at VPFW? Not at all. Your next routine visit will look very different as we take the following precautions outlined by the CDC to protect our patients and staff.
Strict “No Guests” Policy*
Only patients receiving care will be allowed to enter our offices. No guests will be permitted, including children. We know this restriction is difficult, but it is necessary for social distancing so that we can reduce the risk of exposure to patients who are here to receive care as well as our providers and staff.
Exceptions to “No Guests” Policy:
We do have a few exceptions we want you to be aware of so that you can plan for your next visit accordingly:
- Minors may bring one adult guest to any visit.
- OB patients may bring one adult guest to ultrasound visits. Update: guest may stay through the duration of the visit.
- New moms may bring their infant in a carrier to postpartum visits.
Face Masks Required
We ask that all patients wear face coverings at all times while inside VPFW offices. VPFW physicians and staff will also be wearing masks at all times.
Don’t have a mask? See the video tutorial below to learn how to make one from materials you have around the house. No sewing required!
We are enforcing social distancing in our lobbies, waiting rooms, exam rooms and offices. Chairs in waiting areas remain positioned 6 feet apart.
All patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entering the VPFW lobby for the safety of everyone inside.
Provider and Staff Screening
All VPFW providers and staff are being monitored and screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each work day.
We are disinfecting our lobby, exam rooms and high touch surfaces every two hours. We have removed all shared objects from waiting areas.
Is virtual telehealth still an option?
Yes, depending on your medical needs, a virtual telehealth visit is still a great option to receive care without leaving home – especially if you are 65 or older or if you have other health conditions that put you at higher risk during the pandemic. Just call us at 804-897-2100 and our phone nurses can determine if a telehealth visit is an option for you based on your medical needs.
If you are not a current patient of VPFW, you will need to fill out our new patient information form before we can conduct a virtual telehealth visit with you.
What should I do about my appointment if I have had possible exposure to COVID-19 or am feeling symptomatic?
If you have an upcoming appointment and have had possible exposure to COVID-19 or are feeling symptomatic, please call our office at 804-897-2100. Select Option 2 to speak with a phone nurse. We may be able to reschedule your visit or schedule a virtual telehealth appointment so that you can remain isolated at home.
Safety and Individual Care in The Surgery Center at VPFW
The Surgery Center at VPFW is open for outpatient surgeries, including elective surgeries, so that you can receive the care you need. Our ambulatory surgery suite is located inside our Midlothian Turnpike office and offers affordable outpatient procedures in an environment that is safe and socially distant.
The Surgery Center at VPFW offers the following benefits:
- A small controlled environment which greatly reduces the risk of exposure
- High standards of care as set forth by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.
- Full personal protective equipment (PPE) for surgeons and staff
- One-on-one attention and care from experienced VPFW operating room nurses who regularly work with our providers during surgeries
- Staggered appointments with no more than two patients in the surgery suite or waiting area at a time
- Comfortable, private areas for individualized pre- and post-operative care
- Significantly lower cost than surgeries done at hospitals, which is especially relevant to those with high-deductible insurance plans
Questions? Our phone nurses can help!
We know you will have questions about your care during these trying times. Unique to VPFW, we provide our patients direct access to a designated group of experienced nurses that can answer questions and provide guidance regarding your care. Please call us at 804-897-2100 and select 2 to speak with a phone nurse. They are happy to talk with you about your concerns and answer any questions you have.
We’ve always been here when you need us. Now we’re here when you’re ready. Call 804-897-2100 or set an appointment online.
Preventing the spread of illness
Here is how you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system with more cases than they can handle at one time:
- Stay at home if possible.
- Practice social distancing. Keep 6 feet between you and other people.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when hand washing is not possible.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve if a tissue is not available.
- Work from home.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick, especially if you are at higher risk of getting sick.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Wear a face mask in public.
- Do not bring guests to your appointments.
- Do not come to your appointment if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, and/or if you feel you may have been exposed. Call your primary care doctor.
- Call us with any questions! 804-897-2100.
COVID-19 FAQ’s for pregnant women
While more evidence is needed, experts say pregnant women are not at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than others in their age group. However, it has been shown that pregnant patients who do contract COVID-19 are 5 times more likely to be hospitalized. There is no evidence that the virus can pass from pregnant mothers to their fetuses. We will continue to monitor these studies.
Please see our COVID-19 FAQ’s for pregnant women for important information regarding pregnancy and COVID-19, including precautions, risk factors and implications for appointments, labor, and delivery.
We understand your concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Rest assured that we are closely monitoring the guidelines of the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health. See the resources below to stay up-to-date.