Here’s some quick updates on the pandemic:
- As of today, there have been no reported COVID 19 cases in Wayne, Piute, Sevier and Sanpete Counties.
- Social distancing seems to be working. The percentage of those being tested in Utah who test positive for the virus has remained steady at about 5%. We have not seen an acceleration in positive tests.
- We’ve seen a decrease in positive tests in Utah the past week. While this is encouraging, we have also seen a big decrease in the number of tests being done. The percentage of those tested who are positive for the virus has remained at about 5%. The virus is still out there!
- If you have ANY of the following symptoms, please be tested: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, chills, and decreased sense of smell or taste. Being tested will provide medical and government officials vital data in understanding what the virus is doing in our community. With this information we’ll know when we can safely begin to ease current social distancing restrictions. We are not short on testing in Utah. The state has the capacity to do 5000 tests a day but is currently doing less than 2000. We urge people with symptoms to be tested. Testing results are also returning more quickly. We would expect results for most within 2-3 days. To arrange testing, please call the Wayne or Kazan clinic.
- The cost of testing is being covered by insurance. If you do not have insurance, the State lab is doing the tests for free.
- If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, please stay home until your test results are back. Especially avoid anyone over age 65 or those with chronic health problems!
- Governor Herbert has asked us to use face masks when frequenting retail businesses. Homemade face masks are acceptable. While these are not great at helping us avoid getting the virus, it can help us prevent spreading it should we be a carrier not having symptoms.
- The greatest risk of catching the virus will be from touching a contaminated surface and then touching our eyes, nose or mouth. Frequent hand washing and liberal use of hand sanitizer, along with avoiding touching our faces, will greatly limit our risks of catching the virus.
- This is still a very dangerous disease in our older population and those with chronic illness (unfortunately, most of our older folks have underlying chronic illness). Utah data shows a 23% hospital admission rate among those aged 65 to 84. Happily, we’ve only had 12 positive tests in those over 85, but half of these required hospitalization. Let’s do all we can to protect our most vulnerable!
- Current best practices discourages the use of hydroxychloroquine alone, or in combination with Zithromax, in non-hospitalized patients.
- Wide spread blood testing to see who has had the virus is still a few weeks away.
- Some recent reports suggest a vaccine as early as this fall. However, most likely it will be in early 2021.
Jeff Chappell, MD