COVID-19 Information For Our Patients
UPDATE (January 2022)
The providers of Northwest Gastroenterology/Northwest Endoscopy Center (NW Gastro and NW Endo) care about your well-being, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the latest update on our response to COVID-19.
(1) Endoscopic procedures: We encourage patients to stay current with medical care, including recommended endoscopic exams. All NW Endo patients, who have contact with someone with COVID-19 within 10 days of a scheduled procedure will need to postpone the procedure. Any NW Endo patient with a positive COVID test (e.g., antigen rapid test or PCR test) within 14 days of a scheduled procedure will need to postpone the procedure. All providers, staff, and patients wear masks in our facility. We encourage NW Endo patients to wear the highest-grade mask available to them, ideally a N95 or KN95. Any NW Endo patient arriving with a cloth mask will be given a surgical mask to wear during the appointment. We are not allowing NW Endo patients’ escorts to enter the building. We continue to carefully clean and disinfect of all procedure rooms between patients.
(2) Telemedicine clinic visits: We keep our clinic patients safer by seeing them via telemedicine visits using https://nwgastroenter.doxy.me. The link is also on our practice website (https://nwgastro.com) under the main picture. You do NOT need to log onto your patient portal account to access it. Once you are on https://nwgastroenter.doxy.me, select the NW Gastro provider you are scheduled to see. You will be placed in a virtual waiting room. When your NW Gastro provider is ready to activate your visit, you will interact with the provider via webcam. If you have not seen us in the past few months, you will be contacted by a member of our clinic nursing staff prior to your appointment to check on any changes in medical conditions or medications. After your telemedicine visit, our staff will arrange any needed labs, imaging, or procedures.
(3) Infusion services: Our Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis patients on infused biologic therapies, including Remicade, Inflectra, and Entyvio, will continue to get infusions via our center, as will patients getting iron infusions via Injectafer. We have separated infusion patients by moving two of the infusion chairs into empty clinic exam rooms. We are focusing extra energy on sanitizing each patient’s area after infusions. All infusion RNs will wear N95 masks during infusions. We encourage infusion patients to wear the highest-grade mask available to them, ideally a N95 or KN95. Any infusion patient wearing a cloth mask will be given a surgical mask to wear during the appointment. Given that office visits have been converted mostly to telemedicine visits, our office is largely free of non-infusion patients, which minimizes person-to-person contact when infusion patients arrive for infusions. It is considered safe for patients on infused biologic therapies to undergo COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they are eligible, likely through their primary care providers or other regional vaccination sites.
(4) COVID-19 vaccination for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis): In general, most NW Gastro and NW Endo patients should be vaccinated against COVID-19, though IBD patients are often concerned about whether their disease or medications modify the recommendation in favor of vaccination. However, a 2021 consensus statement from IBD experts recommended that patients with IBD get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. You can see the full statement via https://ioibd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/gutjnl-2020-324000.full_.pdf. The key points are summarized in this box:
(5) Health monitoring of providers and staff: As many COVID-19 cases cause only minimal symptoms, especially in younger individuals, we screen every provider and staff member for COVID-19 symptoms as they arrive at work. Any provider or staff member who fails the screening process or is sick is sent home.
Our response to COVID-19 will continue to evolve. Please check back in the future if you have an upcoming appointment to get the latest information.