Appointments are now required and can be made at the link below
Covid Update and Wellness Program Details
Dear Fischer Clinic Members,
I hope this is the last all-clinic message I will need to send you about the Covid-19 Virus. After 2 and ½ years of considering the virus in the planning of nearly every activity involving more than 1 human being, I think we are all ready to have the virus out of our conversations and out of our minds. I am writing to essentially give you our medical permission to do just that.
At the outset of the pandemic, public health experts acknowledged that eventually we would all contract this virus. The steps implemented in 2020 were intended to slow the advance of the virus such that our health care infrastructure could sustain the impact of the initial wave of sickness and so that we could have time to learn how to mitigate the severity of the virus. Those goals have been achieved. Everybody who would like to be vaccinated has had the opportunity to do so, and we have gotten much more proficient at treating patients who are sickened with the virus. We are now seeing the virus spread widely without causing severe illness in the vast majority of people and without placing undue burden on hospitals. It is our judgement that the time has come to let the virus run its course in the population, as it will inevitably do, and stop distorting human interactions in effort to thwart that process. We are therefore going to stop covid specific disease transmission measures within the clinic while encouraging our clinic community to continue to be considerate of each other in the normal ways that we should always be.
Specifically, that means we will no longer ask our patients to wear masks inside the clinic when they do not suspect or know that they have a contagious illness. If, however, you have cough and fever or other typical symptoms of a contagious respiratory illness, we DO ask you to wear a mask and to let the nurses know ahead of time about your symptoms such that we can bring you quickly into a room, bypassing the waiting area. This is common courtesy and not specific to Covid. We have asked the same in flu season, though a “good” of the covid pandemic is that it has given us permission to ask more specifically for this courtesy. We also know that there remain some in our community who choose to be more cautious about their exposure to contagious illnesses and would like to wear a mask within the clinic and for their nurse and doctor to wear a mask in their presence. We are glad to accommodate those requests and ask that you call ahead to make us aware of that if it is your preference. There have always been and will always be circumstances of health that render people very vulnerable to contagious illness (eg, bone marrow transplant, cancer undergoing chemotherapy, autoimmune illnesses requiring high doses of steroids). Since our members requesting mask courtesy may well be in one of those situations, we ask that other members respect the concerns of those coming masked into the clinic and grant them safe passage. It is always right to protect the vulnerable amongst us, but it is no longer justifiable to consider all of us particularly vulnerable to this virus. For most of us, it is time go about our business unfettered by covid restrictions.
On that note, if you are not in a highly vulnerable health situation, but you continue to avoid gathering with people and avoid participating in the important ceremonies of life (weddings, funerals, milestone birthdays, church services, etc) because of concern about the virus, I urge you to reengage. The soul suffering from human isolation and from fear is at this point far more dangerous to your health than is the covid virus. Rejoin the human community with all its mess and beauty and, yes, sickness – for we are not meant to live alone.
Lastly, we have spoken with many of you about our take on boosters and available prescription drugs to treat covid infections, so let us say what we usually say individually to the whole community. Currently available boosters do not diminish your risk of contracting the virus. As any who have traveled this summer know, it is nearly a guarantee that you will get Covid if you travel and receiving a booster prior to travel does not diminish that risk nor discernibly decrease severity of illness. We do not recommend getting additional doses of currently available boosters. We do, however, expect new vaccines later this year that will be tailored to the current circulating variants. Those vaccines will be anticipated to reduce the severity of illness and decrease hospitalizations in the population and will become routine, like flu shots. We can all determine our own individualized risk-benefit from those routine vaccines, choosing for ourselves if we wish to have them. Regarding the use of Paxlovid, monoclonal antibodies, and other drugs to treat symptomatic covid, we use those medications infrequently and only for those at highest risk for severe illness. Paxlovid has challenging medication interactions and has often been shown to cause a rebound of symptoms after initial resolution. Monoclonal antibodies interfere with the normal development of natural immunity from the viral infection. Given that the illness in nearly universally mild at this point, we do not recommend treatments for the vast majority of people. If you are a highly vulnerable person (such as those categories I mentioned previously in this note) do not hesitate to reach out to us and we will discuss medication options. If, however, you are generally in good health and contract Covid we recommend you treat it the way you would any other respiratory virus – stay home, rest, hydrate, take Tylenol for aches and fever.
These last 2 and ½ years have been a hard time collectively and individually. In our current stance on the virus we by no means seek to deny the suffering that the virus itself caused in 2020 and 2021. We were aware of those real harms and sought to protect our community as best we knew how with a proportionate response at that time. The times are different now, the virulence of virus and vulnerability of the population is diminished, so our response to it needs to change as well. While we are not declaring the virus “over,” we are declaring that it is time to deescalate our fight against covid and reengage broadly with the pursuit of health and wholeness, which includes entering fully into in-person community.
Dr. Ben Fischer
Dr. Zane Lapinskes
Dr. Brewer Eberly
Speaking of gathering in person….it’s time for our Fall Wellness Program at the Alexander YMCA
When: Tuesdays from 3:00pm to 4:00pm starting September 13 through November
Where: Alexander Family YMCA 1603 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC, 27605
What: A group fitness workout with fellow Fischer Clinic members led by Meredith Palmer (who we love!) Meredith can give modifications for varying levels, so come out even if you have some limitations.
Why: It’s fun! “I hate working out a little less.” – real quote from past participant of the wellness program
Who: Any Fischer Clinic member
Cost: Free for first time participants and YMCA membership required for returning participants.
First time participants: You will be given a YMCA membership for the duration of the program (about 12 weeks). If you do not have a YMCA membership, send me an email and I will register you for the program and have a YMCA representative contact you about your free membership.
Returning participants: If you already have a YMCA membership you can just show up on Tuesdays.
If you do not have a YMCA membership you can join and the Y will waive your joining fee. Email me if you would like this option.
Can’t participate but want to join the YMCA with NO JOINING FEE? Fischer Clinic members are eligible for a waived joining fee. Respond to this email if you would like to join the YMCA with no joining fee (for a limited time).
Email me at [email protected] if you are–
Thank you to all of you for entrusting us with your care.