Coronavirus (COVID 19) Update 3/12/2020

Brian McGilligan / March 12, 2020 / 5 minute read

The doctors and staff of McGilligan MD have your health and safety as our priority.

Ohio now has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID 19, and we are currently experiencing what is called “community spread.” We expect the number of confirmed cases to grow over the upcoming days. Our Governor instituted a State of Emergency to better obtain supplies needed for The Ohio Department of Health to better combat this illness. Kentucky has also declared a State of Emergency and has had more positive cases than Ohio.

Physicians are operating knowing that this virus is likely currently circulating in our communities. Various health organizations are beginning to put out more guidelines for best practices in how to continue to treat the sick without spreading the illness to the healthy.

At McGilligan MD, our patients know that we are available through phone calls/phone visit, text messages, and video visits in addition to traditional in-office visits. We have been taking calls related to COVID 19 for the past 2 weeks. Many patients have expressed concern about coming to a doctor’s office when they are healthy for fear they may catch something at the office. We are doing all we can to help our sick patients while also keeping our healthy patients in their normal state of health.

Here is what we are asking our patients to do:

  1. We are attempting to transition many in-office appointments to phone or video appointments. We do not want to accidentally expose healthy patients to viruses during this pandemic.
  2. If you are sick, call/text us.
    • Your doctor will reach out to you and go over your symptoms.
    • If your exposure history is suspicious that you may have COVID 19, our office will contact the Health Department to attempt to arrange testing.
  3. If your symptoms are mild, we will give recommendations on how to treat your symptoms at home.
    • Mild symptoms means fever, cough, sneezing, muscle aches, and a near normal or normal oxygen saturation.
  4. If your symptoms are more severe (inability to breathe, low oxygen saturation), we will recommend going to the hospital.
    • This is just as we normally would behave in any other major illness where someone could not breath.
  5. If you have an underlying heart or lung disease, we are encouraging patients to purchase a pulse oximeter to have at home, just like we encourage our patients with high blood pressure to have a blood pressure cuff at home.
    • Pulse oximeters are typically $15-30 and can be delivered by Amazon.
    • Our doctors will be utilizing the information about your pulse oximetry to determine the severity of your illness and whether you should go to the hospital.

As Ohio’s Governor mentioned in his press conference, this is not an ordinary time. We will all experience some frustrations and inconveniences as we try to stay healthy and care for those who are ill. Many of the calls we’ve taken are patients asking about what they can do now, before we have cases here in Cincinnati, to protect themselves. We all must live our lives, but we should consider using more caution in some cases.

Here are some of our recommendations:

  1. Wash your hands regularly.
    • 20 seconds each time with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  2. Try not to touch your face.
    • If you do touch your face, wash your hands.
  3. Use humidifiers.
    • A recent Harvard study showed decreased viral transmission in humidified rooms.
    • If you cannot obtain a humidifier, an essential oil diffuser (with or without an essential oil) can work as a cool mist humidifier.
  4. Get enough sleep.
    • It is recommended that we all get at least 7 hours of sleep at night.
    • Sleep is protective. Our immune systems do not function as well on too little sleep.
  5. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
    • To maintain a healthy immune system, we need to be eating enough vitamins and minerals, in addition to protein, fats, and carbohydrates, to sustain us.
    • If you cannot obtain enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, we are recommending a vitamin supplement.
    • Many people are discussing taking certain vitamins in higher than normal quantities, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. The data on this is questionable, but to be honest, it won’t hurt you.
  6. Practice social distancing.
    • As mentioned in the Governor’s press conference yesterday, the elderly and chronically ill are the most at risk to die from COVID 19. If you have anyone in your life who fits these criteria, you should act as if you could bring the virus home to your loved one.
    • Try to stock up on food goods you will use to limit the amount of times you are going to the store. When at the store, make sure to use the provided wipes for the carts at the front of the store.
    • Utilize delivery services if you can, especially if you are in a high risk group or have frequent contact with someone who is.
    • Limit going in areas with large congregations of people.
  7. Consider cancelling travel.
    • The state of Ohio has cancelled non-essential travel for government employees. We feel this is an appropriate response and are recommending the same for our patients. With Spring Break coming up, please use careful judgment in determining if you will travel.
    • We are strongly recommending that patients not congregate with large groups of people.