Iinscription COVID-19 on blue background with red ball

Coronavirus COVID-19 Takeover

It feels like coronavirus is taking over every aspect of our lives– travel disruption, the stock market roller coaster, now even the ACC basketball tournament has been canceled! Amidst the upheaval, information can be useful and reassuring, so let me update my practical points from my email last week.

1. What to do if you get sick with a bad “cold”?

Two weeks ago the question would have been flu or a cold, but now the question is flu or a cold or coronavirus.

As of right now (I’m sure my approach will change as the situation evolves) I am thinking in terms of 3 severities of illness and reacting accordingly:

a. Mild, like a cold: I have been suggesting to people to think of this level of illness just like a cold but to be extra cautious about cold & flu hygiene. There is documentation of coronavirus causing fairly mild illness, on par with the common cold, so I’m advising people with a “cold” to be really careful about not spreading their illness to other people. Stay home, wash your hands, cover your coughs, etc.

b. Substantial illness, like the flu: think fevers & bodyaches along with coughing. This warrants evaluation. Influenza & coronavirus are considerations.

c. Severe illness: think coughing and difficulty breathing, or feeling really awful. This probably needs a trip to the emergency room

2. If I need evaluation, where do I go and where can I be tested?

Mildly sick: staying home is probably best. If you did in fact have a mild case of coronavirus infection you could pass it on to someone else who then suffers a worse illness. You and I can have a phone or video visit to discuss your symptoms.

Moderately sick: you could consider the ER although I can do an assessment here in the office. However, if you want to come to the office you must call first so that we can plan ahead to minimize risk of spread to other patients in the office and to ourselves; if Cindy is quarantined for 2 weeks because you cough on her she’ll be mad! You and I might choose a phone or video visit rather than in-office visit. I have supplies to collect a limited number of samples for coronavirus testing at LabCorp.

Severely sick: go to the emergency room where you can be evaluated and be tested as needed.

3. I’m healthy and I want to stay that way, should I postpone my routine visit at Sentinel?

Not a bad idea! Even better, remember the option for telephone and video visits through membership at Sentinel–these have been part of the practice since day one, maybe now is the time to try them out!

If you want more information on coronavirus, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a good information page.

If you have questions about your particular situation, don’t hesitate to call us.

I wish you all good health!

Dr O’Connell

About Sentinel Primary Care

Sentinel Primary Care has offices in Brier Creek, just off the highways for easy access. Dr. O’Connell has been seeing patients who needed testing for COVID-19, and his office has adopted protocols that protect patients and staff during the pandemic. As a “direct primary care” practice, members can schedule a tele-health appointment for no extra charge. Those considering Sentinel Primary Care are invited to contact us to schedule a tele-health call.

To learn more about our practice view our “Meet Sentinel Primary Care” video playlist.