With coronavirus cases going up exponentially, Carbon Health has opened up a new clinic this week at Redwood Plaza in Vallejo.
The clinic will remain focused on offering urgent care and COVID-19 testing before transitioning to a full-service primary care facility.
Dr. Caesar Djavaherian said that the morale of the staff at Carbon Health is extremely high, but the clinic has been very busy with the majority of people coming in to get a COVID-19 test. Djavaherian said the clinic has been having anywhere from 30 to 60 tests per day.
“There is a huge command for heath care in Vallejo. We’re already booked up five days in advance with testing,” Djavaherian said. “For many people coming in, the main thing they’re looking for is direction and guidance.”
As far as the holidays go and traveling, Djavaherian urges people to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus .
“Our advice on traveling is simple — don’t travel,” Djavaherian said, with a laugh. “If you travel you have the high risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to others. That being said, we have a resource on our website that tells people that absolutely have to travel where to go and for how long they should quarantine depending on where they start and end their trip. The site even tells them of some clinics they can visit. We are urging people not to travel, but we have to respect people’s choices.”
Djavaherian said that the pandemic right now is worse than it has been since it began at the start of 2020, but that’s something the doctor and many other people in the health care field predicted.
“A lot of it is we predicted pandemic fatigue,” Djavaherian said. “Businesses were starting to open up and people were gathering in larger and larger groups because they saw the numbers begin to go down. But I believe 100 percent that the main cause for this second wave is Thanksgiving and the number of people that traveled for that holiday. That’s why we’re predicting another big spike in January. We know many people are still going to meet for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.”
The United States currently has over 18 million cases of COVID-19 and over 320,000 deaths. According to https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days, California has over 1 million cases and over 307,000 in the last week. There were 3,401 new deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
North Dakota has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population (11,870) of all U.S. states, while Vermont (1,059) has the fewest, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
So why the big differences?
“I think it’s because the message coming from the federal government compared to the state governments have been very different,” Djavaherian said. “On one hand you have the federal government being very optimistic and saying the virus will just go away, while on the other hand you have state officials, depending on which state you’re in, taking a more proactive, scientific approach. And this leaves people confused and making decisions just based off the politician you trust the most. And the thing is, this virus doesn’t care.”
Djavaherian is urging people to not get complacent even with the news of the vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna, possibly being the light at the end of the tunnel.
Solano County has a seven-day positivity rate of 19.4, while the ICU beds available is below 10 percent and creeping toward zero, according to https://www.solanocounty.com/depts/ph/coronavirus.asp,
“People are seeing that and they might let their guard down, but they can’t do that yet,” Djavaherian said. “I’m seeing some Solano County hospitals getting close to capacity or below zero and some are starting to take patients to the regular floors and emergency rooms. Just the other day I had to send patients that had the coronavirus home because there just wasn’t anymore room.”
In order for the vaccine to really work, Djavaherian said one must get two shots. Most hospital workers are getting the first shot now, but won’t get the second shot until January.
“The first shot of the vaccine like Phizer reduces the chance of getting sick by 50 percent,” Djavaherian said. “But the second shot reduces the chances of getting sick by 95 percent.”
Although health care workers like Djavaherian have been extremely busy, whether at Carbon Health in Vallejo or another site, Djavaherian said they still have a few moments at the end of the day to realize how much they are making a difference.
“All health care workers when they begin know they are going to make a difference, but I don’t think they realize the magnitude of that difference,” Djavaherian said. “I’m so proud of my team at Carbon Health and the work they’ve been doing.”
Carbon Health started the year with seven facilities, but now have over 30 sites. The size of the company has also grown from having 100 employees to approximately 900. There are five people each day at the Vallejo location, with a total staff size of 12.
Patients can book an appointment for urgent care and/or COVID-19 diagnostic PCR and/or serology antibody tests by registering online at carbonhealth.com or through the Carbon Health app.
The clinic in Vallejo is located at 784 Admiral Callaghan Lane and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.