Information for Our Patients and Families of Dothan Medical — March 16, 2020
We are monitoring the coronavirus situation carefully and would like to relay some important information regarding our operations.
At this point, a lack of information is our biggest challenge. As a result of this, we are choosing to proceed with an abundance of caution and we will adjust as more information becomes available.
To date, we are unaware of any confirmed cases coronavirus cases in our area. However, we are still limited by a severe lack of testing, and so we feel that it is best to operate under the assumption that the virus is in our area until better data is available.
The primary symptoms that would raise concern for coronavirus are fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In the initial phases, coronavirus presents as a “flu-like” illness. More severe cases tend to worsen after the first week, with increasing shortness of breath potentially requiring hospitalization for further care, to include possible ventilator support.
The primary goal at this point is to slow the spread and prevent the exhaustion of limited resources. This is best accomplished by social distancing. Avoid crowds, stay home, wash hands, and self-isolate if having symptoms of illness.
For patients without symptoms but possibly at high risk:
For our rheumatoid patients who are at high risk who are scheduled for rheumatoid office visits, we will be contacting you and possibly performing either video or phone visits. If we have patients who feel they are at high risk and had rather conduct their visit via telephone we will be glad to accommodate you. Please be patient with us. These are new processes for us and there will inevitable be some kinks. We will otherwise continue with routine appointments as scheduled.
For patients with symptoms:
If you are in a low risk group (less than 60 years old, no chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis), we ask that you stay at home and self-isolate. Monitor your symptoms, stay hydrated, and take ibuprofen or Tylenol as needed. Treat yourself as you would with the typical flu.
For those at higher risk of severe illness (age greater than 60, chronic health conditions), self-isolate and call the office for further guidance. Your provider will follow the CDC guidelines in reporting your symptoms.
Please avoid seeking care at ER facilities unless you have urgent symptoms requiring immediate attention, as there is potential for ER facilities to be overwhelmed caring for the sickest of patients.
Keep in mind, once again, that testing is very limited and there is no known treatment other than supportive care, so there is little to gain by seeking care at an ER unless absolutely necessary.
We plan to continue to remain open and will provide updates as the situation progresses.