We had a special meeting this week with Club members Rachel Huerta, ARPN and John Strasswimmer, MD, Ph.D. Rachel runs Direct Primary Care of Boca Raton and handles most medical issues not requiring a specialist. John and his partner own Strasswimmer & Smirnov Dematology in Delray Beach. John is Board Certified in Mohs procedures.
John and Rachel provided answers to questions posed by the Club members about the terrible novel coronavirus and resulting Covid-19 disease that develops. Here is a summary of the answers they gave:
- There were many questions about masks. Rachel held a cloth mask up to a light. She said if there is a lot of light, then there could be a lot of air coming through in both directions. A tighter fabric is better to comply with the CDC recommendations for everyone to wear a mask.
- There are also -surgical masks which health care workers when they are concerned of getting a spot on their face (low cost)
- N95 masks are designed to provide high protection for the person wearing it. They are to be used by health care workers who have a higher likelihood of being in close contact with someone who might be or is infectious
- Wear the cloth mask when you are going out to the grocery store, pharmacy or, perhaps to Costco (or equivalent).
- It’s OK to not wear a mask if you are taking a walk outside (perhaps with your dogs) as long as you don’t come into close contact with others. Simply move out of the way. Maintain the 6 feet of social distancing or wear a mask.
- If you have been invited to someone’s house, wear the mask (because you are indoors) and also use social distancing while there.
- Handwashing is extremely important. Frequently touched surfaces, like the doorknob to an office might be contagious.
- And, of course, wash your hands frequently.
- There’s no need to get in a long line to get a test for Covid-19 if you don’t show any symptoms, and you would be adding to the backlog of testing that is needed for sick or high-risk patients.
- However, if you feel bad and suspect you may have Covid-19, go to a local testing facility (there may be no charge so ask) and they will take a sample using a nasopharyngeal swab. This the one that feels like it is drilling to your brain. It used to take a day to get the result, but with the current surge in uncontrolled coronavirus cases , that current turnaround time is likely more than one week In the meantime, use the list below for how to quarantine yourself from other family members.
- The test itself is moderately accurate as long as it’s done in a reasonable time from taking the sample and if done by a major testing facility.
- The “15-minute nasal swab test” is probably unreliable.
- Antibody tests are also much less reliable. The idea is that you can get one after you feel you had symptoms and have now recovered. However, these tests are also not reliable. They will not answer the question “Can I get it again”
- Rachel has provided an excellent list of symptoms for Covid-19 below. Clearly, if you experience them, contact your primary care doctor immediately and go get tested.
- If you have recovered from Covid-10, you typically can’t go back to work until you are virus free for a stipulated time. The minimum time is about 14 days.
The economy cannot reopen until the burden of cases stops overwhelming our hospitals and health care providers. Do your part as a good Rotarian and set an example for the community.
It is clear from this talk that wearing masks outside the home (except when talking a walk without people in close proximity) is the best way to combat the virus for all of us
In addition, I recommend everyone read this article from the New York Times. It is very well-written and makes sense.
By John M. Barry
A comprehensive shutdown may be required in much of the country.
In addition, Rachel showed a number of reference documents that are included below.