A message from Dr. Ginger Fewell in regards to COVID-19

I have been asked to discuss the current outbreak of COVID-19 in our community and hopefully give you some answers to concerns you may be having.

We all have been asked to stay at home because staying home is important to limit further spread of this virus that is already in our community, in an effort to protect the most vulnerable among us. Most people who become ill due to the coronavirus will be able to care for themselves at home just as they would when they get the flu. You should consult your doctor if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms that are not getting better after three to four days. In most cases, testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 is not necessary because it will not change the way your doctor cares for you. For certain individuals that are at higher risk a test may be done to help inform decisions in care. Because this virus has already made it to our community testing people who do not have symptoms will no longer stem the spread and with the still limited supply of test kits it is important to prioritize testing for those who are at higher risk of serious illness. You and your doctor or health care provider can work together to determine if you would benefit from a test.

In the event that you need to stay home due to illness it is ok to call your doctor to discuss ways to control symptoms and what to look out for if you are worried but remember most cases are mild. While at home separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible. It is still recommended to limit contact with pets and animals. If you must care for your animals just make sure to wash your hands before you interact with them.

People who care for themselves at home may stop self-isolation when you have had no fever for 3 full days without using fever-reducing medicine AND your other symptoms have improved AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

If you do need to visit your doctor’s office please call ahead and you will be given instructions for arrival. You will be asked to wear a mask before entering and may be guided to a special room.

Some symptoms of more serious illness needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. If you need to call 911 please let the operator know that you may have COVID-19 so that first responders can take appropriate protective measures.

Please be reassured that Washington County Hospital continues to remain open and operational throughout this event. We are here to answer your questions and soon will also be able to have video visits with patients to make it easier to get your routine care in addition to care for acute illnesses. Our phone numbers are listed with this video link.

Dr. Ginger Fewell