Greene County has continued to have a gradual increase in numbers of Covid-positive patients. We know there are many more cases in the community who have had symptoms but have not been confirmed with testing. This disease is now in our community, and will be problematic for quite some time to come. We know the social distancing measures implemented by our health and government officials have slowed the spread of Covid-19 and helped to save lives. We know the curve has been flattened by adherence to the social distancing measures, wearing of masks and decreased gatherings. A flatter curve may mean a longer curve, and we expect Coronavirus infections to continue and maybe even have additional surges in the near or medium-term future. As considerations for relaxing the social distancing measures move forward, we expect the numbers of cases to continue to increase as there will be more contact and more possibility for spread of the infection. We will need to remember: good social distancing, limited gatherings, good hand washing, staying home when ill, avoiding unnecessary exposures and wearing a mask in public all will help prevent the spread of the infection.
People with chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and lung disease will be at continued higher risk for complications. Older age will continue to be a risk factor for more severe disease and death. Our older community members may need to take more precautions in order to protect their health. Our local primary care practices have implemented measures to limit exposure to illness if you come to the doctor’s office. We have also started telemedicine appointments where you can see a doctor or nurse practitioner using a phone or computer to limit exposure to infections. We encourage people with chronic conditions to make sure they are current on their medications and regular care. We need to continue good primary medical care in an effort to prevent other illness progression. It is important to seek medical care at the most appropriate place. For routine care, that might be a telemedicine visit. For a minor illness, that might be a doctor’s office appointment or visit to the Convenient Care clinic, now open seven days a week.
For chest pain, stroke symptoms, confusion, trouble breathing, severe abdominal pain and other possible emergencies, the appropriate place would be the Emergency Department. Remember, we are doing lots of things to keep you safe from infection in all of those places. Lastly, there has been lots of talk in the news and media about treatments for Coronavirus. Remember, we routinely have lots of viral infections causing common colds, flu, etc. The recommended treatment for these illnesses has always been symptom treatment. Unfortunately, Covid 19 is the same. We do not have any proven medications to treat this illness. There have been several proposed treatments including Azithromycin, Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, other immunomodulators and Convalescent Plasma. The current NIH guidelines do not recognize known benefit from these and the harm is unknown as we don’t have conclusive studies. If you have Covid-19, it is reasonable to speak to your physician about these treatments, however recognize most should only be used as part of a clinical trial and are not to be considered standard treatments. We have made preparations to be able to use Convalescent Plasma if the need arises. We have had some recovered patients inquire as to how to donate plasma. At this point this treatment is in the early possible planning stages. There may be more to come in the near future and we will let you know if local plasma donation becomes needed. Thank you and stay healthy!