Austin Regional Clinic responds to concerns about coronavirus
March 11, 2020
ARC continues to monitor the updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of COVID-19. 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.
Please read the information below and we will continue to update the community. Additional information is available on the Coronavirus FAQ page.
People infected with COVID-19 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, congestion, and a wet cough, have not been to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea, 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.
COVID-19, 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.
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 COVID-19 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.
The flu season is still in Central Texas, along with respiratory diseases, and ARC, along with the CDC, recommends 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.