Leading By Example During a Pandemic

The team at Your Doc’s In urgent-care clinics have answered the call of duty during the COVID-19 crisis

Photography by Grant L. Gursky

Dr. Walter D. Gianelle, an experienced ER physician and former pararescue team member in the United States Air Force, has been working along the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since the virus’s arrival on the Eastern Shore last spring. The founder of Your Doc’s In (YDI), which comprises six award-winning urgent-care clinics and occupational-health centers on Delmarva,
Dr. Gianelle has personally seen as many as 300 COVID-positive patients in close contact, and his dedicated team of board-certified physicians and medical specialists have administered more than 10,000 COVID-19 tests to date. With a surge in cases expected this winter, that number will rise significantly. Yet, he and his staff remain undaunted, ready to serve their community while continuously placing themselves in harm’s way.

“We all took The Hippocratic Oath for a reason — to take care of people,” Dr. Gianelle said. “It’s a responsibility, similar to the military, to do your duty — even if someone puts your health, or your life, at risk. Becoming a physician doesn’t mean that we walk away from the people who are ill in our community. Physicians have been putting themselves at risk for a long time, but it doesn’t stop with this pandemic, and it won’t stop with the next. We can’t walk away. There’s a job to do, and we have to do our job, to care for those who are ill.”

They’re doing their jobs extremely well. Consider this: Although they encountered potential COVID-19 exposures thousands of times in 2020, just two YDI team members contracted the virus. The reasoning for their remarkably high levels of well-being is simple, said Dr. Gianelle.

“We follow the rules. Our staff wear gowns, and we mask up. We take the necessary precautions, and we do our jobs to the best of our abilities for the community. Our staff has been outstanding,” he said.

Your Doc’s In now offers COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostic Testing, which will dramatically increase efficiency and effectiveness for patients and staff. The YDI staff have been trained by a certified lab supervisor to perform the test and determine its results properly. Each test, according to Dr. Gianelle, takes just three minutes, and results are available within about 15 minutes. The tests are known to be 90-95% accurate. Every Your Doc’s In location will have ample supplies of tests. YDI will also administer rounds of the new COVID-19 vaccines, which were in the early stages of nationwide distribution at the time of this printing.

“I think the people who are really at risk need to get immunized from a priority perspective,”
Dr. Gianelle said. “Anyone with lung issues, diabetes, over age 65 and those who are at high exposure rates should get immunized. They should be the priorities, and we need to protect them.”

With multiple vaccines showing high efficacy rates now available on the Shore, combined with the extensive research and data derived from the virus in 2020, Dr. Gianelle said he expects that our area will return to some sort of normality in 2021.

“It’s going to take a little while, but we’re going to get back there,” he said. “Some may come out of this completely afraid and want to wear a mask around other people — and that’s okay. But I think the majority of people want to be in the movie theaters and restaurants and going to sporting events. They want to get back to their lives. I think by summer — with people immunized and after we get through the flu season — we’ll be back on track to a normal life again.”

Your Doc’s In continues to operate its clinics for those requiring urgent care. Patients who would like to be seen but want to minimize their exposure at the clinics are encouraged to make an appointment online through YDI’s website. At the appointed time, if there is a wait inside, one can remain in their vehicle, if preferred. This applies to walk-in patients, too.

For more information about Your Doc’s In or to schedule an appointment, visit YourDocsIn.com.