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Some Louisiana parishes are leading the nation in COVID-19 deaths per capita according to a University of Louisiana-Lafayette study. However, while the disease is deadly for some, many people are surviving. Luling resident and Access Health Louisiana (AHL) patient “Charmaine” successfully survived COVID-19. At 63 years old and a diabetic, she was more at risk for complications from the virus. “Before testing, I scheduled a telemedicine appointment with Dr. Jay at the St. Charles Community Health Center in Luling,” says Ms. Charmaine. “Based on my symptoms, he had me go to COVID-19 testing at AHL’s Mobile Health Unit. It was a quick drive-thru test and the medical staff was very professional and warm-hearted.”
As a leading Federally Qualified Health Center, Access Health Louisiana provides high quality, affordable and convenient healthcare in high-need areas where access to care is difficult. In fact, AHL’s Mobile Testing Unit is assisting the National Guard, Homeland Security, Office of Public Health, Emergency Operations Centers, as well as local and parish government officials with COVID-19 testing throughout southeast Louisiana. Now more than ever, public health is needed in communities where care is limited. AHL’s providers are reaching out to chronically ill patients to help them keep up on their care. It’s that continuous support that’s helping patients with COVID-19 pull through and recover.
Ms. Charmaine says when she received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19, she was scared. However, she put her trust in her long-time board-certified provider, Dr. Chemmale Jayakrishnan (Dr. Jay) and his team, because they have treated patients living with chronic illness for over a decade. “Dr. Jay’s knowledge is unsurpassed. Once diagnosed positive with COVID-19, Dr. Jay and the Luling staff supported me immediately. Dr. Jay gave me some prescriptions and advised if I began experiencing shortness of breath, or any difficulty breathing, to go straight to the ER. He also said to drink hot fluids and rest.”
AHL providers’ comprehensive care management plans are directly addressing patients with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. Ms. Charmaine’s advice for others living with diabetes and diagnosed with COVID-19: “Diabetics be extra cautious with your glucose level during this period, as mine escalated with the infection. Listen to your Health Care Provider and quarantine. You can beat this virus!”
AHL has a specialized Task Force monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and assessing best practices for diagnosing the virus. Dr. MarkAlain Dery, Infectious Disease Physician, as well as Elizabeth McClung, Epidemiologist are backed by a Population Health Team and Executive Leadership in determining the best possible care for patients diagnosed with the disease.
“It is very comforting to have such good quality healthcare in Luling,” says Ms. Charmaine. “The entire staff at AHL is caring. They also follow up to check on your progress.” If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, AHL’s Health Coaches and provider teams will follow up with you daily to monitor your progress and recovery. Therapists are also available to help you with support through virtual telemedicine visits. There’s even a group therapy options for those looking to reach out to others in their community going through the same crisis.
If you or a loved one are experiencing fever, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19, call AHL and schedule a telemedicine appointment at 1-877-580-2066. Self-quarantine at your home and wait for your provider to tell you next steps for testing and treatment. All AHL community health centers and Acadian Care clinics are accepting new patients at this time.