Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Although we have a lot to learn about this virus, it appears to spread like other respiratory viruses — by people with the infection coughing and sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people or moved to the eyes, nose, or mouth by contaminated hands.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are flu-like and include fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. Most people develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications or those over age 60, may develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia.
I have been calling the office and cannot reach anyone. What should I do?
Please wait until you hear back from us. We are trying to respond to our patients’ calls as quickly as possible, but under the current circumstances, our response may be delayed.
What do I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
If you have a cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call and speak with your health care provider before going to a medical facility. Do not go to an emergency room. If you believe you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 9-1-1.
If you do feel ill, don’t panic. Most people who get the novel coronavirus disease have only minor symptoms and do not need medical care. In fact, most people with symptoms who are tested for COVID-19 have a negative test. Their symptoms are most likely due to influenza or seasonal allergies. However, you should contact your doctor to inform him/her of your symptoms and get advice.
If you have a mild case, your doctor may advise you to treat your symptoms at home. Staying home also helps prevent you from exposing other people to the disease.
For those who have a more serious case, call before you head to the urgent care or emergency room. That will help the medical team to prepare for your arrival, so you can receive the fastest and best possible care. It will also help them to protect other people from your infection.
Should I be tested for COVID-19?
The Tennessee Department of Health has established several locations where people can get checked out if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
The remote assessment sites will be used for evaluation and screening to determine the next steps for the person in question. Access the full list of available locations by clicking HERE.
What should I do to keep myself and those close to me safe?
The most important steps to take are the same as for every cold and flu season: Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content; 70% is even better) if you cannot wash. Stay home if you are feeling ill. If you experience symptoms, call your doctor’s office. They will help you determine if you need to be seen and provide you with instructions for seeking medical care.
Public Health officials are recommending that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. This is called “social distancing” and means that in any group, you would never be closer than 6 feet from any other person. People at higher risk include:
- People age 60 and older
- People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
- People who have weakened immune systems
- People who are pregnant
We are serving our patients in the safest manner possible by following the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under these difficult circumstances. In doing this, we will safeguard the health and safety of our patients, our care providers, and the whole community. We hope you understand, and we thank you for your cooperation.