As I know you are all aware, we are preparing as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic extends its geographic area and number of cases. The most accurate and up to date information can be found on the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
This information and recommendations are rapidly evolving and we will try our best to keep you updated on my blog at personalphysicianmd.com.
A few bullet points:
- As of today, we have ordered test kits and hopefully will have them later this week.
- If you have symptoms suggestive of this disease (fever and cough) you must call the office number (if during office hours) or our cell numbers after office hours to discuss your symptoms and for instructions.
- If you are moderately ill we will have you come to the office and will come out to your car to test you (nose swab). We will initially test for the flu which is widespread now. If you need to come into the office and are sick you will need to put on a mask in the lobby. PLEASE DO NOT DROP IN. We do not want you coming into the office if you might have this illness as that would expose us and other patients.
- If you are having severe symptoms we will direct you to the emergency room.
The CDC has outlined specific criteria for testing for COVID 19 and they are as follows:
Fever/cough/sore throat/difficulty breathing AND at least one of the following:
You live in a community with confirmed sustained community transmission of COVID 19 (not currently the case in San Antonio)
You have traveled within the last 14 days to an area with confirmed community transmission of COVID 19
You have had contact with someone with known or suspected COVID-19.
We need to use the test kits for only those of you who meet testing criteria so we have sufficient quantity for those who truly need to be tested. These criteria may very well change with time and we will update you as they do.
The most difficult hurdle in preventing this illness it that there is a period of asymptomatic carriage which may be up to 2 weeks. The average incubation period is about 5 days during which a person can, without symptoms, transmit it to another person. There appears to be a spectrum of severity ranging from minimal or mild symptoms (most cases) to severe symptoms including respiratory failure and death .Those patients over 60, especially with chronic lung or heart problems or diabetes care are the most susceptible. The overall mortality rate appears to be greater than that of influenza.
We all need to practice regular hand washing, avoiding contact closer than 6 feet from others, avoiding shaking hands,and avoiding large gatherings. We need to avoid touching our faces as well. There is certainly no need for panic but, rather, for calm and organized preventive measures.
We will get through this together.
Mark L. Thornton ,M.D.,F.A.C.P.
Jennifer Wallace, M.D.