Things are moving fast in regards to COVID-19 testing! In just a few months, testing went from 5-6 days to 2-3 days to only fifteen minutes! And Sentinel Primary Care now has the 15-minute rapid test available to its members.
The Full Picture
Progress in testing is important for a few reasons. First, if you test positive, you’ll know that much sooner so you can notify those you’ve been in contact with so that they can quarantine to prevent further spread of the virus to others. Second, testing can identify asymptomatic carriers who may not realize they have COVID. Third, rapid results help everyone understand the communal impact of transmission and helps us better battle the virus.
What about Herd Immunity?
There is a lot of talk about “herd immunity,” which comes from the veterinary field. It refers to a herd of animals’ resistance to the spread of an infectious disease because a high percentage of the herd has developed immunity as a result of a previous infection or vaccination.
In humans, measles and polio are examples of diseases where vaccines created herd immunity. Once 95% of the population received a measles vaccine and 80% a polio vaccine, transmission of these viruses dropped off, and maintaining herd immunity is why these vaccines continue to be administered today.
Herd immunity with COVID would require 70% of the population to be immune. In North Carolina probably 10-15% of our population has been infected, so we have a long way to go before herd immunity from infection can come into play. Hopefully then a vaccine will not only protect individuals who are vaccinated but will begin slowing the spread of the virus through the population and thereby start protecting even those who have not been vaccinated.
What can you do?
Currently there is no quick path to defeating this virus. Our response has to be balanced between stopping the spread of the virus and all of the unintended consequences of shut-downs and quarantines. Medical providers are seeing a significant increase in mental health problems, substance use disorders, stress, and depression.
The bottom line is that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. We need to take precautions to prevent/slow down the spread of the virus so we aren’t overwhelming our hospitals and causing additional economic woes. This means:
Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when in public
Wash your hands frequently
Socially distance at least 6 feet from others
Try not to touch your face
Use hand sanitizer frequently
Use disposable gloves at the gas pump
Gather outside as much as possible and follow the distancing guidelines set forth by the NC Division of Health and Human Services
Stay home if you feel sick and isolate from others
GET TESTED if you feel sick or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive
It also means to support one another and our local businesses when you do go out. Be kind and respectful to others. Wearing a mask is a bit of grace that can go a long way in slowing the rate of infection and easing the demands on frontline healthcare providers and keeping our economy open.
We Value Your Safety
At Sentinel, we are following the CDC guidelines for disinfection closely and taking your health and safety very seriously. We are staying up-to-date on the latest information and are proud that we can provide this rapid response test to our members. It’s bad enough to be sick, but having to wait for your results is worse. Be prepared to follow our protocols if you need to come to the office:
Call when you pull into the parking lot
Come up to the office in the elevator by yourself
Wait at the door and someone will come get you and hand you a mask. Please do not touch the door
You will be guided to a treatment room
When your appointment is done, we will sanitize the office