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Austin Regional Clinic responds to concerns about coronavirus

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

ARC continues to monitor the  updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and is aware of the case in San Antonio.  We have established protocols for staff, nurses, and physicians to follow for a variety of infectious diseases, such as influenza (flu) and related viruses like the COVID-19. These protocols ensure that our response is consistent with the standards of the CDC and local and state health departments.

We have included information below and will continue to update the community.

Symptoms

People infected with 2019-nCoV develop respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms may appear in as little as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is similar to previous serious coronaviruses like MERS and SARS.

Dr. Jay Zdunek, ARC Chief Medical Officer, explained “If you are sick with fever and cough and have not been to China and have not been in contact with someone with COVID-19, it’s probably flu or a flu-like virus.”

Click to review the CDC flyer on what to do if you suspect you are sick with COVID-19.

Transmission

2019 Novel Coronavirus, like other coronaviruses, is thought to spread from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as through coughing. However, the precise ways the virus spreads are not currently well understood.

Illness Severity

So far about 82 percent of the cases, including the few in the United States, have been mild. The CDC’s Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, says people who are at higher risk for severe disease are those who are older and with underlying health conditions.

Treatment and Prevention

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 infection available at this time. Treatment is similar to most viruses, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and treat fever, pain and cough with the appropriate over the counter medications. Currently, diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV can only be done by CDC test kits at designated public health labs.

In accordance with CDC preventive measures for all viruses, ARC doctors recommend the following preventive actions:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid contact with sick individuals
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Call your doctor if your illness includes fever, cough, and difficulty breathing
  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Noticesfor the latest travel guidance.
  • Check for symptoms of acute respiratory illnessbefore starting travel.

It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and ARC along with the CDC recommend getting a flu vaccine and taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs.

ARC informs our physicians and staff regularly about the latest updates from around the world about COVID-19. We continue to focus on each of our patient’s health needs and the health of our entire community.  Please return to our website for ongoing updates.

 

Article originally published 2/3/2020.

Update 2/13/2020.

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