Fortunately, our Regional Health Departments (Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Orange and Madison County’s ) have no reported cases of proven COVID-19 disease, as of this morning. However, the limitation is that healthcare providers are only able to screen high risk patients as defined by the Center for Disease Control. Most tests available at the national level are being diverted to the so-called “hot spots”, such as New York, Washington, California, etc. We are anxiously awaiting increased availability of tests to be able to screen our patient population. We are working diligently to increase the supply of COVID-19 tests, but regionally these remain quite limited. Therefore, we continue to follow the CDC guidelines.
What should we be doing?
We should be taking this very seriously. However, there is no need to panic. We should stay calm and carry on. As the media has been educating the public, certainly the elderly (over age 60), men more than women, and patients with coexisting diseases such as cardiovascular disease, emphysema or asthma, hypertension, and altered immune systems) are at a higher risk. Fortunately, children don’t seem to be as affected as much. The danger here is that the younger portion of our population can become infected but be asymptomatic, and spread it throughout the rest of the population. Therefore, we should be very serious about avoiding group gatherings. I know the authorities have said that we should not gather in groups of more than 10. Personally I feel that even that number is excessive.
Seek out reputable information such as www.cdc.gov and www.vdh.virginia.gov. Don’t let social media disseminate rumors and false information.
We should limit social contact as much as possible. Being mindful of the suggestion to maintain 6 foot “social distancing.” Stay home and stay put! Limit going out. Avoid social engagements. Keep your kids and young adults home. This is no time for them to go out and get together socially or go partying. Don’t bring your kids to visit your elderly parents. If you need to go to the store, try to leave your kids at home and have somebody watch them.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this frequently, and whenever you think you may have come in contact with something that could be carrying the virus. Clean your hands before going into a store, and upon leaving a store when picking up necessities.
Cover your mouth completely when coughing. Then immediately wash your hands. Avoid touching your face. This is when you are most likely to inoculate yourself with the virus, should your hands be contaminated.
Don’t get overly stressed. Stress can alter your immune system function. Go outside to exercise daily, meditate, read or pray. Eat well. Get a good night’s sleep. Avoid staying glued to the TV and media hype. Certainly, do not smoke as this will put your respiratory system at risk of being infected.
Buy the necessary supplies you and your family need. Don’t hoard; so that everyone has access to the supplies they will need.
Work remotely if possible.
Take this seriously, but don’t get overly stressed. It will come to pass sooner than later. Exactly when, we do not know unfortunately. But all these pandemics and epidemics do come to an end. Fortunately, we are in a much better place to handle this situation, than when the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 occurred over a 100 years ago.
Piedmont Family Practice is open 7 AM-4 PM Monday-Friday. Piedmont Urgent Care is open every day from 8 AM-8 PM with walk-in availability. Please refer to our websites and Facebook pages for the procedures we have in place should you suspect you have the coronavirus. Each location has a number to call should you need assistance.
We have taken deliberate precautions to limit exposure to our regular patient’s during their routine visits. We are still open for business. Remember, as of this time we have no documented cases in our community.
Stay calm, stay healthy and stay vigilant. Soon this will be merely a memory.