Story by STACY MARTIN
The United States has recently made it to the number one position with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. Our country’s first responders and healthcare workers are heroes putting themselves on the front lines. Walton County is full of such heroes, and Point Washington Medical Clinic is no exception.
Point Washington Medical Clinic (PWMC) is a No-Fee-For-Service, 501(c)3 medical clinic located in Point Washington, Santa Rosa Beach. The center treats non-emergency related conditions such as Infections, seasonal allergies, minor sprains and strains skin infections, strep throat, influenza, and laceration repairs. The clinic also provides a variety of general physical exams, school and sports physicals, pap smears, general bloodwork, and a variety of health educational resources.
Doctor Hillary Glenn, one of the primary care doctors at the clinic, talks about the overall condition of the COVID-19 virus, and the measures PWMC is taking for safety. Beginning weeks ago, the clinic took precautions to adjust their routine to perform drive-up screenings for patients. “We are working to decrease the exposure risk for any of the volunteers,” says Glenn.
Patients drive up, place a call to the clinic, and information is gathered over the phone. Patients are given a questionnaire sheet in both English and Spanish that will direct the next steps. Once data is collected, doctors in full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment including goggles, masks, gloves, cap, and gown) approach the car, giving them pencils and masks (for them to keep) and registration and questionnaires forms, and tested for temperature and oxygen levels. If a patient is coughing, has shortness of breath, a fever, or other symptoms of the virus, and it is determined that the PWMC must test for COVID-19, a packet of information is given to the client. Test results are turned in to labs and reported to the Department of Health. Glenn states that it is explained to the patient that, once swabbed for the virus, they must self-quarantine and consider themselves positive for 14 days or until results come back negative. If results come back positive, PWMC will notify the patient a well as the Department of Health.
PWMC has tests available flu and strep, both also in season, and, if there are symptoms, those tests will be administered first as a process of elimination before the COVID-19 testing.
Glenn says that tests are scarce, and to keep those who are at risk eligible to be tested, symptoms must be present in patients to keep test kits available for those who need to be tested. Until tests are widely available to the public, it is essential to educate oneself on the symptoms of the virus.
“Soon, there will be more rapid testing and more tests that will be readily available.”
Patients coming to the clinic for other symptoms or routine visits will now use the Telemedicine platform where they call the clinic, and a volunteer will set them up with an appointment for the patient to meet virtually with one of the PWMC doctors, decreasing exposure for anyone. With suggestions and updates given daily to the public, changes occur almost daily. Staying informed on what is going on to keep safe and healthy is critical for all Walton County residents.
Glenn states that at the PWMC, “Our motto is: Have Heart, Be Smart, Wash Your Hands and Stay Home for Grandma!”
As of now, the PWMC current hours of operation are Mondays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Visit their Facebook page for more information.