I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe amidst this Coronavirus Crisis. I have to admit, it’s quite surreal to see the empty store shelves. A week or so I had blogged about upcoming March Madness Specials, but I never anticipated this kind of madness! So in light of the recent developments, I wanted to discuss the situation.
First, I still don’t feel there is a need to panic, but yes, we need to be responsible and take appropriate measures. The numbers of cases, and unfortunately Covid-19 related deaths, are rising in the US and worldwide, but that is and has been expected. The numbers are rising in part because we are testing more, though much more testing needs to be done. It is my hope that as more testing is performed, the mortality rates will decline as many of those testing positive will recover uneventfully and/or have mild cases.
As it stands, the numbers are already likely much higher than reported because many people have contracted such mild cases that they have little to no symptoms. Additionally, some people are not going to get tested but instead are simply managing their illness appropriately at home. I know of 3 young women in the movie industry in LA. Two of the 3 came down with fevers, so all 3 are self quarantined in their apartment as Covid-19 is suspected. However, they would not be included in any Covid numbers but may very well have it.
All this being said, we need to use common sense like these 3 women and follow the prevention guidelines outlined by the CDC. This includes the obvious handwashing and avoidance of large crowds and touching your face. It also includes not getting in a plane when you’re sick, like the New York gentleman did last week, exposing his fellow passengers to Covid-19.
There is a lot of discussion and criticism out there about the shortage of tests available. As I said above, I would like to see more testing, but testing does not replace common sense, which unfortunately, is not so common. Tests are not the “be all, end all.” For starters, tests can have false negatives and false positives.
I’m sure you’ve heard before of someone who tested negative for the flu, but had symptoms of the flu and got better with Tamiflu. And besides, the treatment of Covid-19 is supportive care, meaning treating the symptoms, just as it is with the flu.
So if you show up to the Emergency Room seriously ill, whether you have a positive or negative test, the treatments would be similar, that is until or if drugs specific for Covid-19 are developed. I also heard a lot of complaints from the media today about European travelers not getting their temperature taken upon the arrival to the designated US airports. I think this misses the bigger point that those returning from Asia and Europe should be self quarantined for 14 days, regardless of a temperature reading, and if you’re severely sick, seek medical attention.
This leads to my next topic, which involves the steps we’re taking in my office to address Coronavirus. My staff and I are being vigilant in wiping surfaces with disinfectant wipes throughout the day, and using air sanitizers. We not only use disinfectant sprays, but also ultraviolet sanitizers, which I’ve used in my operating room for years. In fact, more uv sanitizers have been purchased. And then the office is cleaned again at the end of the day. Masks are being worn when indicated.
We request that you reschedule your appointment if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms, and my staff is to stay home if they have any of these symptoms.
We want to continue to treat you in a safe and socially conscious manner. We need to restrict the spread of this illness to protect those vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and those with serious medical conditions.
Starting this week I will offer you see patients thru virtual visits (Facetime), our own version of "telemedicine," whenever possible.
As it stands, my patient population is healthy, without a lot of coexisting medical problems, and patient traffic is low compared to other specialties. However, attempts to limit interactions are deemed beneficial, and I hope the virtual visit offer gives comfort to those wanting to stay at home. Additionally, for anyone needing refills of their skin care products, we are happy to ship them free of charge.
I am optimistic that with all of the measures the government has taken, the willingness of Charlestonians to heed the warnings, and warmer weather, that we’ll beat this virus quickly.
While things are difficult right now, you know the saying... “ no pain, no gain!” So hang in there, everybody!
For the latest news for us in Charleston, please visit Charleston's Gov't website here http://bit.ly/3d2mECG
Dr. Heidi Williams