What is Coronavirus?

I’m sure by now most of us have heard of spread of Coronavirus infection (Covid-19). SARS-Cov2 is a virus that causes lung problems. It causes inflammation in the lungs. The disease could progress to ARDS and it could be life threatening. Inflamed lungs cannot do its job which is to make oxygen available for the body to use therefore consequences can be serious. 

This strand of coronavirus (SARS-Cov2) was originally started in Wuhan, China. It was announced early January that they were having issues then it has been spreading to rest of the world rapidly. Indeed, it here in North Carolina as well. Based on what we know, Covid-19 disproportionally target older patients. It appears to be much less harmful to children. Also another good statistics is most of people (about 90%) infected are either have no symptoms or fully recover.

Although flu virus has been around for long time and has killed much more people over the years, this strand of Coronavirus (SARS-Cov2) is different because humans never encountered this specific strand before therefore, we do not know exactly how to deal with it. Every country seems to have different way of coping with disease. We do know that it can easily overwhelm hospitals and medical infrastructure if there are rush of sick people seeking care.

Way USA is dealing with it is by “flattening the curve”. There are only so many number of hospital bed with ventilators available in any country. Ventilators (breathing machine) are only effective treatment right now to support the patient while they are CRITICALLY ill. The goal is to keep the number of new critically ill patients BELOW the level of the capacity of hospital. If there are rapid increase of very sick people then hospital will run out of beds and treatment for them will be severely compromised and could lead to more mortality. CDC and our leaders are trying to avoid that. 

One way to slow the rate of spread is so called “social distancing”. By staying home, closing restaurants, large events and not going to work reduces number of people interact with each other and therefore it will reduce the number of new critically ill patients. Many experts agree that this is right measure to prevent any unfortunate cases where there are more patients than available beds. 

As an oral & facial surgery office, we have our responsibility to continue to deliver our service to patients. Because most of patients have pain and infection, delaying treatment is not an option nor advisable. At the same time, we want to protect our patients from this viral epidemic as well. Fortunately, there are many ways to continue deliver care and minimize transmission. 

First, we are doing as much as we can over the phone to get information. More detail you give us over the phone, that is that much less time you are spending to give that information in person.  

Second, we will be checking everyone’s temperature very early in the appointment. Any patients with fever we are recommending them to get be tested even if they feel well. Remember a lot of patients have almost NO SYMPTOMS. 

Lastly, we will be keeping the lobby as empty as possible by reducing the number of patients in the area. We will ask you to wait in the car after check-in if the rooms aren’t available right away. We will contact you via text. Same applies to family & friends who will be waiting for the patient. We will ask them to wait in the car and we’ll text them when patient is ready to be discharged. 

As we go along dealing with outbreak of coronavirus, we predict there will be change in recommendations from government health officials and we will follow their recommendation accordingly. This is extraordinary times and drastic measures are being taken. 

We will be posting on our website as we receive more information. Thank you.