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Toolkits for Physicians and Staff
With the Our Fight is Against COVID campaign, AMS has developed resources to use in your practice. Below are posters that you can download and print to put in your office or to distribute to your patients.
Our Fight is Against COVID – Poster 1
Our Fight is Against COVID – Poster 2
Our Fight is Against COVID – Poster 3
Below are signs that you can post at your clinic to alert your patients on what to do before entering your clinic. We have also translated these signs to help communicate with your Spanish and Marshallese patients. To download, click on the links below.
COVID-19 Guidance for Employers
If any of your employees are being monitored due to possible exposure to COVID-19, they will be placed under home self-quarantine by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, they will be placed under self-isolation. ADH does not recommend retesting of positive employees before release from isolation or return to work.ADH will no longer issue documentation stating when an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 may return to work or other obligations. Employers are to use this guidance on isolation in determining their own return to work policy.
During the quarantine or isolation period, the person is expected to stay home and not leave for any reason except to seek any needed medical care.
If the employee does not develop symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the end of the self-quarantine period, they will be free to resume normal activities, including school or work. A positive employee should follow the guidelines for isolation.
Please call the ADH at 1-800-803-7847 if you have any questions.
Quarantine and Isolation Information from ADH and CDC
(12-27-2021) Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation for the public. People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.
Additionally, CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for anyone in the general public who is exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious. These recommendations do not supersede state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, nor do they apply to healthcare workers for whom CDC has updated guidance.
American Medical Association Guide for Physicians
This quick-start COVID-19 physician guide, curated from comprehensive CDC, JAMA and WHO resources, will help prepare your practice, address patient concerns and answer your most pressing questions.
AMS Says Thank You
The Arkansas Medical Society has worked closely with the Arkansas Department of Health and other healthcare community leaders to serve physicians since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit Arkansas in March 2020. Our top priority has been and will always be the safety and well-being of the healthcare community that we serve, including our 4,200 member physicians, residents, and medical students.
5\12 -Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug with in vitro effectiveness against COVID-19, has been released from the manufacturer Gilead Sciences under emergency use authorization for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 infection. It is being distributed through federal offices directly to state health departments.
Arkansas will receive approximately 50 courses of Remdesivir today (5\12). The drug will be distributed to hospitals in the state that are currently treating COVID-19 patients and to some other geographically strategic hospitals.
Guidelines for use have been released at https://www.gilead.com/remdesivir and pharmacy and therapeutics committees and infection control committees at individual facilities will be encouraged to follow those guidelines for use in their institutions.
3\28 – Chloroquine phosphate, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death. Clinicians and public health officials should discourage the public from misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate (a chemical used in home aquariums). Clinicians should advise patients and the public that chloroquine, and the related compound hydroxychloroquine, should be used only under the supervision of a healthcare provider as prescribed medications. Click here to read the entire ADH Health Alert.
Arkansas Department of Health
ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. Call 1-800-803-7847 and identify yourself as a physician needing assistance, and they will quickly assist you.
Latest Posts on COVID-19
Arkansas Medical Society Awarded $1.5 Million Grant from ADH to Bolster Support for Physicians, Clinics in Fight Against COVID-19
Latest Email Updates from AMS
Click here to read older emails and to search all of our information we have sent out
Arkansas Medical Society Awarded $1.5 Million Grant from ADH to Bolster Support for Physicians, Clinics in Fight Against COVID-19
Join The Arkansas Medical Society Today!
Click on the links below to view the recorded webinar
We can Help.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Update
Elective Procedure Guidelines
7\31 -Effective August 1, 2020, based on data showing very low positivity rates in pre-procedure testing to date, the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test prior to elective procedures is rescinded. However, due to the level of spread within many Arkansas communities and to limit introduction of COVID-19 into hospitals and surgery centers, ADH still strongly encourages pre-procedure testing for COVID-19. Nothing in this revision is to be construed as restricting a facility from requiring a negative pre-procedure test for COVID-19. These requirements pertain to all elective procedures. This directive does not apply to small rural hospitals under 60 beds and critical access hospitals, although they are strongly advised to follow this directive to maximize resources and minimize risk.
6\10 – We encourage physicians to be extra cautious when performing elective procedures. For those patients who have had a COVID-19 test within the 72 hour window, the physician might want to ensure that a system is in place to proactively note the test results prior to performing the procedure.
Contact with a COVID-19 positive patient for more than 15 minutes will trigger a series of events including a 14 day quarantine. During the quarantine some may return to work depending on whether or not they are deemed critical for healthcare delivery.
5\8 – Updated Guidance on Elective Procedures
The Arkansas Department of Health issued new guidance today that provides greater flexibility while specifying the conditions that must be met as part of Phase II of the resumption of elective procedures.
5\6 – ADH Public Health Laboratory to Perform Preoperative Testing
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) Public Health Laboratory (PHL) is offering to perform preoperative SARS-CoV-2 testing when no other laboratory (reference or hospital) resource can be identified. The information below is provided to inform users of this option:
- Physicians and institutions are strongly encouraged to use reference or
local hospital laboratories for pre-operative testing SARS-CoV-2 on
- The ADH PHL will perform SARS-CoV-2 testing on weekends and
- Referring physicians and institutions are responsible for arranging
delivery of specimens to be tested to the ADH PHL. The ADH has
courier service from local health units (LHU) to the PHL. If needed, this
should be arranged by contacting the LHU in advance of the day(s) of
- Specimens should arrive in the PHL by midday Saturday or Sunday.
Specimens arriving after that time will be processed the following day.
- While every attempt will be made to provide a 24-hour turn-around-time
for the results of pre-operative testing SARS-CoV-2, testing of
specimens obtained from an outbreak investigation or congregate living
setting may supersede the latter.’Questions regarding the above can be directed to Dr. James Bledsoe at 479-685-5393.
4\28 – Antibody Testing Primer – With multiple versions of serum antibody test kits being promoted around the state, the Arkansas Department of Health want to remind physicians that they do not support these test kits. This primer helps explain why.
Nasopharyngeal specimen is the preferred choice for swab-based COVID-19 testing. When
collection of a nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) is not possible, there are other acceptable alternatives. Click on link above to read the entire guidance.
4\23 –Updated Guidance from ADH on COVID-19 Testing
Testing capacity and technology for COVID-19 are rapidly changing. PCR tests can now be done using traditional technology or rapid result point of care instruments. These are tests for components of the virus. Serological tests are also available but not appropriate for diagnosis.
Over the past week, capacity for COVID-19 testing at commercial labs has increased significantly, resulting in shortened turnaround times. Therefore, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) now recommends that clinicians consider testing patients for COVID-19 based solely on their symptoms.
This means patients can be tested even if they do not have known risk factors of contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19 or travel to an area with widespread community transmission of COVID-19. In addition, we also now recommend testing all those with history of potential exposure to COVID-19, even if asymptomatic.
Providers should use their best clinical judgment to determine if a patient’s presentation is consistent with COVID-19 and needs testing. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat). However, some patients have had atypical presentations with diarrhea and without fever. Other groups worthy of screening include those admitted to hospital ICUs, those with sudden onset severe illnesses, and pregnant women.
This relaxation of testing criteria will allow for more accurate estimates of COVID-19 prevalence in Arkansas. Testing capacity at ADH’s Public Health Laboratory has also increased. Due to our public health mandate, we continue to prioritize the testing of patients who:
- Require a rapid diagnosis because they are hospitalized with significant
- In the intensive care unit, or those who reside in an institutional facility
(i.e., longterm care, correctional facility, etc.), or are part of the cohort of
known contacts of positive cases that we are actively following.
If you have a patient who you think meets criteria for testing at ADH, please call the Physician Hotline at 1-844-930-3023 to discuss the case with an ADH clinician. Otherwise, continue to send specimens to your preferred commercial lab.
CDC recommends providers have a supply of face masks and tissues for patients with symptoms of respiratory infection. These should be provided to patients with symptoms of respiratory infection at check-in. Source control (putting a face mask over the mouth and nose of a symptomatic patient) can help to prevent transmission to others.
4\17 – ADH Directive Regarding the Use of Nucleic Acid Amplification Test: The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) recognizes the importance of having diagnostic NAATs for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 at POC settings such as those listed above during the current public health emergency. In the interest of patient safety, the ADH requires that all POC NAAT devices and assays used outside of CLIA approved laboratories have written approval from the Arkansas Secretary of Health.
Click here to read the entire directive.
3/20 – Price Gouging: We have received a few calls about price gouging from medical supply vendors and out-of-state labs. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office intends to vigorously pursue prosecution of these bad actors. Generally a 10% or more increase in price over the pre-emergency price is considered price gouging. See the information from the AG’s office.
3/17 – Specimen Collection Procedure: Commercial labs, such as LabCorp, Quest, and Roche, now provide COVID-19 testing. Health care providers intending to test their patients for COVID-19 should obtain the requirements for specimen collection, storage, and shipping from the commercial lab that they plan to use. Click here to read the rest of the Specimen Collection Guide (3/13/20).
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