As the number of COVID-19 (also commonly referred to as the coronavirus) cases in the United States continues to rise and more communities are affected, people are growing increasingly concerned and have many questions. It’s important to be well informed about this illness so that you are able to take proper precautions to protect your health and that of those you interact with.
Symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. The most common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. Fatigue, sore throat, and headaches have also been reported among numerous people suffering from COVID-19.
Social distancing is critically important
You’ve likely heard the term social distancing a number of times in the recent weeks. Put simply, social distancing is the idea of limiting your interactions with the people you don’t live with in order to prevent or minimize the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing can take many forms, from staying home from work if your job allows for that, to maintaining six feet of distance between you and people you encounter in public, and not getting together with friends or attending workout classes in a studio.
The United States does not have the capability to handle the number of sick people in hospitals and ICU’s projected as the virus spreads. The purpose of social distancing is to decrease that peak so it is manageable by our healthcare system. So social distancing is a necessary action to help save fellow Americans that you might know or not know.
“Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” states The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a recommendation to the public.
Among a number of guidelines, the CDC and the White House recommend working from home when possible, avoiding social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people (though other guidelines recommend keeping gatherings even smaller), using pickup and delivery options for food rather than dining in a restaurant or bar, and avoiding unnecessary travel.
If you have a compromised immune system, it’s healthiest for you to stay home
COVID-19 can carry more risk for people with underlying health conditions. For this reason, the CDC recommends that people with compromised immune systems and serious health conditions like heart disease and diabetes stay home and minimize unnecessary contact with others.
It’s early to know a lot about how COVID-19 may affect pregnant women
At this point, little is known about the effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women and infants due to data limitations, and thus the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) hasn’t made any formal recommendations for pregnant women in terms of managing or evaluating COVID-19.
The ACOG highlights that while current research and data doesn’t show that pregnant women are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, they should be considered an at-risk population given available data showing that pregnant women are at higher risk from other respiratory infections such as influenza.
The CDC recommends pregnant women should follow the same precautions as the rest of the public for protecting themselves from COVID-19. This includes avoiding people who are sick, covering your cough, and frequently cleaning your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
It’s unclear if COVID-19 can be transferred from a mother to her unborn baby
The ACOG and CDC report that it’s currently unclear if COVID-19 can be transmitted to the fetus during delivery or pregnancy.
It’s important to keep your doctor aware of your travel history, exposure to people with COVID-19, and any symptoms you may be experiencing
This information is important for your healthcare providers to know about and will help inform healthcare and treatment during this pandemic. Let your doctor know right away if you have a fever, breathing issues, or any other symptoms that are outside of the usual. If you suspect you have COVID-19 or if you’ve been in contact with anyone who has, it’s important to let your doctor know prior to visiting their office so they can take proper precautions to keep everyone safe.
A statement from the President of AOA, Mike Urig, MD
As leaders in Women’s Health across the valley, AOA has always strived to set an example of the highest standards for health care. Your health and safety are our top priority as the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt around the country and in our communities. This is uncharted territory for us all, but we are committed to making decisions that are best for our patients, employees, families, and our providers.
To that end, we have implemented procedures in our offices to limit exposure to COVID-19 by implementing CDC recommended actions, including social distancing, limiting the number of patients, visitors, and staff, and instituting strict cleaning protocols of the waiting rooms and exams rooms.
We are also monitoring the CDC and Arizona Department of Health guidelines daily and will implement new procedures as they are published. We have taken steps to make needed visits to our offices safer, and we will serve our patients with the same compassionate and high-quality care that they have come to expect.
We are here for you and we believe the best way to get through this is together.
Mike Urig, MD (President of AOA)