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COVID-19 Health and Prevention

Coronavirus Information Hub

Using the latest information from leading medical experts to help you anticipate next steps.

If you’re a Tryon Direct patient experiencing symptoms, please call us at 704-626-6700 to reach our triage nurse.
If you are not yet a Tryon Direct patient, call 704-495-6334.

Coronavirus Basics

What’s the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging widely in severity. COVID-19 is the illness caused by this “novel” SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus. Like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2013. Here’s more from the CDC on novel coronavirus.

How many cases are expected in the US?
The CDC has depicted multiple scenarios to show to what extent the virus might spread, using worst-case figures if no preventative actions are taken versus slower transmission rates with varying degrees of preventive action taking place. Based on these simulations, between 160 million and 214 million people in the US could become infected with COVID-19 over the course of months or even over a year. As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die and 2.4 million to 21 million could require hospitalization. The CDC is still running simulations to provide more accurate predictions on the spread of the virus.

When are the cases expected to start spreading/popping up more rapidly?
As more test kits become available, the growth rate of the virus will rise rapidly. Currently a large portion of the population who may be infected are not being tested, meaning we do not have an accurate representation of the number of cases.

Is the spread of coronavirus inevitable?
Yes and no. If we continue on our current path, the spread of coronavirus is most likely inevitable. Currently the trend of Coronavirus cases in America is growing exponentially. However, there are steps we can take to reverse the trend i.e. social distancing, quarantine, hand washing, etc. There are a handful of countries that have done a very good job of this and successfully reversed the trend (in some cases even contained the virus) and there are other countries that have done a very bad job of this and are now facing the consequences.

What can I expect in a month, six months, a year?
At our current pace, 50% of America will be affected by Coronavirus by the end of the year. However, this is not inevitable. It is not too late to reverse the trend. China and South Korea are about 3 months ahead of America in this pandemic, and their trends have been reversed due to social distancing techniques and staying informed.

 Can we realistically have a city by city strategy or does this require a national strategy?
To truly prevent the spread of the virus it needs to be national so that we can flatten the curve and stop the spread altogether.

How do you get coronavirus?

How is the virus spread?
COVID-19 is spread person to person through small droplets coming from the nose or mouth. The virus can be caught by touching objects where these droplets have landed and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. The droplets can also be breathed in if an infected person coughs or exhales.

Can people who recover from the coronavirus still be carriers and spread it?
They can still be carriers of the disease, but they aren’t the source of it as they are no longer contagious after being fully recovered.

How long is the incubation period?
Symptoms of the coronavirus may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The average incubation period is 5.1 days, 1% of cases have an incubation period >14 days, and 97.5% of cases have the first symptom within 11.5 days. The longest reported incubation period was 27 days for one individual.

How long is someone contagious? 
Someone can be contagious up to 14 days from the last date of exposure. For this reason, individuals should quarantine for 14 days, after which point, they will not be seen at risk of spreading the virus if they did not develop symptoms within that timeframe.

Can an infected person be contagious if they haven’t started showing symptoms yet?
Yes, this is possible because many people with COVID-19 experience mild or no symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. Therefore, it’s possible to catch the virus from someone who perhaps has a mild cough and doesn’t feel sick.

How long does COVID-19 live on surfaces?
It depends on the surface. It is believed that it can only live on surfaces for 1-3 days.

Do I have coronavirus?

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?
Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the standard symptoms. Fatigue and weakness are also common as well. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.

What should I do if I suspect I have coronavirus symptoms?
If you are exhibiting any of the coronavirus symptoms, call your doctor. Be prepared to share information about your recent travel or contact with individuals who have travelled recently. Your doctor’s office will triage and determine the appropriate action of care. To lessen the risk of spreading the virus if you have it, please remain in your home unless seeking medical care.

If I have just one of the symptoms, could it be coronavirus?
If you are experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus, you should call your doctor. In fact, some people who become infected don’t develop any symptoms at all and don’t feel sick.

What if I get sick?

What should I do if I suddenly develop a cough and/or fever?
Call your doctor’s office and speak with a nurse to be triaged. If you do not currently have a primary care physician, you can call Tryon Medical Partners, Atrium, or Novant in the Charlotte area.

Where can I seek medical attention if I have the Coronavirus?
Please call in to your primary care physician’s office before showing up if you suspect you have Coronavirus. You will then be advised on how to proceed.

Will medical visits/costs associated with the Coronavirus (and/or expected Coronavirus) be covered by my health insurance plan (including hospital admissions)?
Each insurance company is establishing coverage guidelines. Please request additional detail from your insurance administrator including how virtual visits are being covered.

At what point do you recommend someone getting tested for COVID-19?
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please call your doctor’s office. The medical professionals will assess your symptoms and determine is testing is needed.

Where is the safest place to go if I suspect I have coronavirus?
Stay home and away from others in the household. Call your doctor and they will advise you of the next step. If you suspect you have coronavirus, per CDC recommendations choose a room and bathroom in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible. Plan to clean these rooms, as needed, when someone is sick. Avoid sharing personal items like food and drinks. Provide your sick household member with clean disposable facemasks to wear at home, if available, to help prevent spreading COVID-19 to others. Clean the sick room and bathroom, as needed, to avoid unnecessary contact with the sick person. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water prior to disinfection.

When should you go to the hospital? Not everyone needs to go to the hospital, correct?
If you are experiencing shortness of breath on top of a fever and cough, this would be a good time to go to the hospital. If left untreated, this could lead to pneumonia in some cases. Individuals with less severe cases should not rush to the hospital to ensure that hospital care capacity is available for those with more severe illnesses.

I am not sick now. How do I stay well?

What are the best immune system supplements I can take? Will they help?
Probiotics are designed to assist with your gut and vitamins that are rich in C, E, and B6 are designed to help boost your immune system. Many scientists however believe that the immune system is so intricate that these measures only assist those that are extremely malnourished in these areas.  The best solution is still exercise, managing stress, vaccinations, and washing hands thoroughly.

Can you keep children safe who go to daycare?
So far, children have not been affected by Coronavirus to the degree that adults have. However, it is believed that they can still be carriers and infect older people. The safest option is to make sure your children are social distancing the same way everyone else should.

When going to a grocery store, how do you protect yourself?
Stay at least 6 feet away from any other people in the store, do not touch your face, use hand sanitizer frequently if possible, and wash your hands thoroughly after putting your groceries away.

Is it safe to fly? What precautions should be taken?
In order to successfully stop the spread of Coronavirus, we advise everyone to cancel all travel plans immediately. If you absolutely have to fly somewhere, please make sure you stay at least 6 feet away from any other person, do not touch your face, and wash your hands after touching any common surfaces.

Where is the safest place to go if I don’t want to get coronavirus?
Stay at home.

What is a reliable news source to find up-to-date Coronavirus information?
The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your local government’s social media pages/press conferences, CNBC, and most importantly your primary care physician.

Coronavirus and the Flu

Why are people freaking out about coronavirus more than the flu?
We can treat the flu. We can vaccinate for the flu. We don’t have a vaccine for COVID-19 at the moment. There is currently no FDA approved medication for COVID-19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive care such as rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

Do you think that the public reaction to the coronavirus will increase the likelihood that people will be more likely to get the annual flu vaccination or any recommended vaccination in the future?
That will be one of the positive takeaways from this pandemic. Even though a flu shot wouldn’t have prevented this specific strand of virus it does illuminate the need for proper care such as vaccinations, proper hygiene, etc.

Coronavirus Treatment and Future

If you are unfortunate enough to contract COVID-19, what are the long-term effects on the human body?
This is relatively unknown but the concern that doctors have are the lungs. COVID-19 attacks the lungs and for those that recover there is a potential that years down the road complications could arise due to scar tissue.

How long until we have a treatment for coronavirus?
We can treat patients now but the treatment doesn’t always work especially for immunocompromised, those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, and patients over age 65. There is currently no FDA approved medication for COVID-19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive care such as rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

How long until we have a vaccine for coronavirus?
It will be 12-18 months per the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

A lot of people are scared because of the current situation. How do you recommend people deal with their fear and anxiety? What resources are available?
First, it’s important to note that 99% of those that contract the virus recover. Having said that it’s important to do some self-help techniques such as: get proper sleep, exercise, meditation, eat properly, go outside, talk to friends and family virtually, have virtual visits with counselor.

What else do you want to know?
Ask the Tryon Direct Coronavirus Task Force.