It’s been near seven months since the COVID 19 pandemic created major changes in our lives. Our understanding of this virus and how best to respond continues to change over time. Here’s an update on some of the latest information:
COVID 19 is still a very real and dangerous threat:
With only 2 diagnosed cases of COVID 19 in Wayne County to date, few of us have had any experience with the virus personally, or with loved ones. That said, nationally over 200,000 people have died. Please do not take this virus lightly. It is still a very real threat!
Social distancing and masks do work
The virus seems to spread most readily among those in close contact and indoors. If you need to be up close, please put on a mask. This is especially important while indoors. While the risk of catching this virus from our hands is less than we originally thought, frequent handwashing is still highly recommended and is very effective in preventing COVID 19 look alike infections such as regular colds and the flu.
People can spread the virus without even knowing they have it
Up to 80% of people infected with COVID 19 will have mild or no symptoms. As such, it is important to use precautions even among those who seem well. Be especially careful when visiting out of town or entertaining guests.
Testing is critical in helping protect our community
The only way we can prevent wide community spread of COVID 19 is by identifying infected individuals early. If you have a “cold” or flu-like symptoms, or cough, fever, sore throat, or muscle aches, please be tested. Also, many will have stomach symptoms of diarrhea and/or nausea and should also be tested. Loss of taste or smell are very concerning symptoms, even if you feel otherwise well, and testing should be done promptly. We do have rapid testing available now at the clinic. If you have a positive test this is 100% accurate. However, a negative rapid test is only about 85% accurate meaning there is still a 15% chance you could still have the virus. As such, we may recommend additional testing for those with a negative rapid test.
Get a flu shot
This year it is extremely important that everyone get a flu shot. If we have an outbreak of COVID 19 in the community, you won’t want to be sick with the flu!
Vaccination for COVID 19 will be a good thing
There are several vaccines against coronavirus that are in late stages of testing. This phase 3 testing involves giving the vaccine to thousands of people. When it is approved, we can feel confident it has been well studied and is safe and effective. In the history of medicine, nothing has had a greater impact on the health of humanity than immunizations. While it is good and appropriate to ask questions, please have confidence in, and decide now, to be vaccinated for COVID 19 as soon as it’s available.
Stay well, Jeff Chappell MD