With all the information available about the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, South Lake Pediatrics would like to provide our families with straightforward facts about the virus and what you can do to keep your family healthy. The absolute best resource for up-to-date COVID-19 information is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
The CDC website is updated daily and contains truthful, scientific information about COVID-19 that individuals and families can trust.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease (discovered in) 2019. The coronaviruses are a group of respiratory viral infections that have circulated for years. COVID-19 is causing global concern because it is a novel (or new) type of coronavirus that has not been previously isolated in humans. As such, our human population does not have immunity to this new virus.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are the same as most viral respiratory infections: runny nose, congestion, cough, and fever. One of the reasons COVID-19 is spreading so quickly is that in most people, symptoms are very mild to non-existent. Over 80% of infected individuals experience only mild symptoms, similar to the common cold.
Who is at risk for serious COVID-19 infection?
The elderly and other individuals with compromised immune systems (cancer patients and those with significant underlying health problems) are most at risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Incredibly, based on the data being reported, not a single child in the entire world has died from COVID-19 disease.
Who should be tested for COVID-19 infection?
We are following the CDC recommendations that any individual who has been to a country with widespread disease (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan, or Hong Kong), or has been in direct contact with a patient known to have COVID-19 disease, or been on a cruise ship in the past 14 days AND has runny nose, congestion, cough, or fever should be tested for COVID-19. Please note that the countries where there is widespread disease will change frequently, so refer to the CDC website for the most up-to-date recommendations.
How can I be tested for COVID-19?
South Lake Pediatrics and other primary care clinics are able to test for COVID-19. If you meet the above criteria for testing, please call our clinic to schedule an appointment. We have protocols in place to ensure that possible COVID-19 infected patients remain isolated from the rest of our patients. Please do not go to the ER for COVID-19 testing. Emergency Rooms need to be allowed to care for critically ill patients. We are already getting reports that our local ERs are being overwhelmed by healthy patients wanting to be tested for COVID-19. This prevents acutely ill patients from obtaining the care they need in a timely fashion.
What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?
If you are concerned that you might have COVID-19, the first thing you need to do is self-quarantine to reduce spreading the virus. Then contact South Lake Pediatrics or your primary care doctor to arrange for testing. Testing involves obtaining swabs from your nose and throat and sending these samples to the Minnesota Department of Health. Testing results will be reported back to your clinic in 24-48 hours. It is important that you remain in self-quarantine until you receive the results of your test. If your test is positive, South Lake Pediatrics will review quarantine protocols with you to prevent further viral spread.
What is the treatment for COVID-19?
As COVID-19 is a viral infection, there is no specific treatment. The great majority of infected individuals will recover with rest and time. For those with severe respiratory symptoms, like shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, emergent medical attention should be sought, as some people will require inpatient hospital care.
How can I prevent COVID-19?
COVID-19 is spread through infected respiratory droplets- basically snot, spit, and what we cough up. Practicing good hygiene is the absolute best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (and any disease)! If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose/mouth and wash your hands immediately. Do not share food or beverages. Avoid touching your own face and cut down on direct contact with individuals (wave instead of shaking hands). The CDC is recommending that those populations at risk of more serious disease limit exposure to large crowds. For low risk populations (healthy adults and children), you can go about your regular routines, but practice good hygiene.
Should I cancel my upcoming travel plans?
This is an answer that will change daily. The CDC website is the best place to go for an up-to-date answer. As of today, the CDC recommends that all individuals avoid non-essential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and Japan. They are also recommending that all Americans avoid cruise travel of any sort, no matter the destination. One of the biggest issues families need to consider in regards to travel is if they are willing to be forced into a 14 day quarantine at their travel location.
This is my final comment on COVID-19:
While COVID-19 is spreading globally and causing illness, the great majority of patients have mild symptoms and recover. I personally believe the global media has done a very poor job of giving truthful information to the public and have created inappropriate panic. I myself check the CDC website and Minnesota Department of Health website once daily but do not read COVID-19 information anywhere else, as it is likely to be sensationalized, and in some cases, flat out wrong. Please be assured that South Lake Pediatrics practices evidence-based medicine, and we are prepared to isolate and test suspected COVID-19 infected patients while keeping our healthy patients healthy. Please use medical resources appropriately and do not go to the ER for COVID-19 testing. If you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection, please call your primary care clinic right away and self-quarantine until your test results come back. And finally, if your neighbor runs out of toilet paper or soup, share what you have. We all need to be kind and patient with each other.