Subject: End of summer updates from Dr. Biemer's office

Late Summer Updates

Delta concerns, office policy changes, and new guidance

September 13, 2021

Dear patients and friends,

I hope you've managed to squeeze a few good memories out of this disappointing summer. Brief story about mine - a month ago my 2 daughters from NY, 3 year old grandson and several significant others came west for their summer trip. All except the little boy were fully vaccinated. Great visit, spent time in Portland and out at the coast. On their last day, about to fly east, my grandson developed a temp of 102, holding up their departure. He was diagnosed with Covid the next day, then after that my pregnant daughter and her husband, and then another daughter. All recovered well, and after 10 day quarantine and 3 negative tests my wife and I were never infected. 

The moral of the story is vaccines do work! 3 of 8 adults who were exposed to the unvaccinated child had mild infections and recovered well. Hospitals here in Oregon and across the country are FULL of Covid patients as you know, including the ICU's, and the large majority (90-95%) of those in ICU's and dying in the hospital are unvaccinated. This is NOT NECESSARY! The vaccines are as safe and even more studied than almost any vaccine in history- please get vaccinated if you have not. 

Because unvaccinated folks continue to be at higher risk to themselves, their families, and caregivers we will be screening ALL patients on the phone for vaccine status before scheduling. We will encourage virtual visits for anyone who has yet to be vaccinated, but will make case by case exceptions. Julia Jones has small children at home who are, of course, not yet eligible for vaccine, so Dr Biemer will mostly be seeing unvaccinated patients by exception when needed. We hope you understand.

A few other notes. Regarding BOOSTERS (third shot), the early emphasis has been on immune compromised patients. Although many of you are at HIGH RISK for disease due to age and/or underlying medical issues including diabetes or lung disease, these are not indications at this time for a third vaccine. As you've no doubt seen, this is evolving with not all federal agencies on board with regard to a booster. See this link for a good FAQ sheet from Oregon Health Authority on third vaccines.

Please, as you had to be in the early days of vaccination, be patient as we expect this to all be resolved in the coming 1-2 months. 

Read on for more information on monoclonal antibody treatment, current testing resources, and more useful links.

Thanks, keep well, and we will have more communication in the coming weeks. Lots going on!

Dr. Biemer

Office policy update: Due to the increased risk unvaccinated folks have of contracting and spreading COVID, we will be inquiring about vaccination status prior to scheduling a visit. Unvaccinated individuals will be encouraged to participate in virtual visits with case by case exceptions.

Per hospital policy, adult patients should come alone when possible and if additional support is necessary, should limit to one additional visitor.


There are more options than ever for testing. I'd strongly advise you to pick up a few of the Abbott labs rapid antigen testing kits for home. They are approximately the same kit that is used in the urgent cares and take 15 minutes, and cost about $20-25 for two tests. In the office we use the Providence or Quest labs PCR test, which is the most accurate but takes 2-3 days to come back. A few locations we commonly refer patients for testing include Legacy GoHealth, GS labs, and OHSU's drive through clinic, which reopened recently.


Here is a more comprehensive list of testing sites curated by Washington county.


Regarding Monoclonal Antibodies: 

It is likely you've heard about the Regeneron product that provides monoclonal antibodies directed at Covid for treatment of EARLY disease (within 10 days of diagnosis) in patients who are at high risk from Covid. The treatment generally is covered by insurance but the administration is cumbersome, in that it generally is given by IV infusion over a few hours, and obviously you can't put sick Covid patients in an infusion center where there are other sick non-Covid patients (like a chemotherapy infusion site). Salem Hospital has an infusion site that is up and running. One of our patients has had an infusion there that went well and he recovered quickly. OHSU and Providence are both interested in it's administration but having difficulty with site selection, staffing etc. at the moment. More to come, but if you are over 60 or have significant medical issues that may put you at high risk and are unlucky enough to contract Covid think about this option and contact our office for more specifics. 

Some useful links...

Here is a list of Covid testing sites compiled by Washington County. Although the list was compiled in Washington county, many of the listed resources are available to the greater Portland area. Here is the Oregon Health Authority Testing Map.

Never hesitate to contact us

James J. Biemer Jr. MD

9135 SW Barnes Rd. Suite 863

Portland, OR 97225

(p) 503-384-0316

(f) 503-416-8145