COVID 19 Update

1.  Limit unnecessary contact with others, especially if you are 65 and older with heart conditions, lung conditions, diabetes or chronic kidney disease

2.  Wash hands frequently with soap and water , a minimum of 20 seconds

3.  Avoid touching your face, especially near the eyes, nose and mouth.  This is a frequent, unconscious habit we all have and can be a major source of germ transfer.

4. Respiratory droplets can spread 6 feet with coughing, sneezing and up to 3 feet with speaking.

5.  Testing currently is reserved for those sick enough to be hospitalized with symptoms- fever, cough and shortness of breath; those with known contact with someone who has COVID 19 or in contact with someone from an area of concern; healthcare workers exposed to someone with COVID 19 with symptoms or exposure without proper protection.

6.  If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, it is recommended you stay at home.

If you feel the need to go to your physicians office, you are to call first.  You may be asked to wait in your car to be evaluated there to limit exposure to others.  Testing requires approval by the Georgia Dept of Health before it can be done- Labcorp can accept the specimens.

7.  Personal protective equipment that is recommended for healthcare providers evaluating patients with fever, cough is in short supply and is being reserved primarily for those taking care of patients in the ICU and those performing testing for COVID 19- as it is a high risk transmission activity.  My office is not qualified at present to do the testing as we do not have a Biosafety Lab Level 2 or 3.  If the situation becomes more severe, the CDC may amend this requirement.  Even the recommendation on N95 respirators has been qualified due to their short supply.

8.  There are numerous companies already running experiments on treatment medication and different types of vaccination.  Vaccinations for widespread use are likely 1 year out from availability.  Some of the treatment medications are in phase 2 and 3 trials.

9.  The experts are stating it is too late to contain the virus, most of us likely will contract the virus in the next 1 to 1.5 years and will develop at least partial immunity.  However, until there is widespread treatment available for those who end up severely ill, we need to limit this transmission.  In Italy, 13% of those diagnosed with COVID 19 were hospitalized and of those 16% ended up in the ICU- but their ICU"s are already overwhelmed.

10.  Of note, most patients hospitalized were discharged home to recover after about a week.

Dr Kelley Sathl Internal Medicine Physician at Stahl Primary Care, LLC