March 13, 2020
Coronavirus Update from KC CARE
News about Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is moving quickly and evolving daily. Yesterday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a State of Emergency for Kansas City and shared information about how this might affect you as well as how to sign up for text alerts from the City.
It’s important to note that misinformation can also move quickly. KC CARE is committed to sharing our best recommendations as the situation continues to change. Each day, we’re monitoring our local and state departments of health, as well as the CDC.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or healthcare workers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. The hotline is available 24/7, is operated by medical professionals, and can be reached at 877-435-8411.
What does this all mean for YOU, our patients?
COVID-19 is mainly spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Do what you can to keep yourself and your family healthy.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Soap and water are the most effective disinfecting option.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, sneezing, or coughing.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough and sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
- Don’t forget to moisturize. It’s an important step in handwashing and prevents cracking or peeling skin which could make you more susceptible to infection. Get your own bottle and don’t share.
- Just as during regular flu season, it’s important to protect your immune system with healthy habits. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet, stay hydrated, and prioritize sleep.
- On that note, try to quit or cut back on smoking. We couldn’t call ourselves a healthcare provider if we didn’t tell you this; because coronavirus is a respiratory virus, this is especially important right now.
- Mentally prepare. It’s easy to forget that flu season stretches from October to May every year. While we don’t know for sure, the spread of COVID-19 will likely impact our daily lives and activities in the weeks to come.
Embrace social distancing as much as possible.
You’re going to hear this term a lot in the coming weeks. Per the CDC’s recommendation, social distancing involves remaining out of large group settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance between yourself and others whenever possible to limit the ability of the virus to spread. Especially if you have traveled out of the area or to areas with higher coronavirus rates, or been on a plane in recent weeks, it is important to take extra precautions as you may be ill and not realize it.
Even if you are healthy, you can help slow the spread of coronavirus by staying home as much as possible. We’re learning it’s possible to transmit COVID-19 without showing symptoms, which means some people are getting the virus without realizing it until they’ve exposed a number of other people in the course of their daily lives.
However, some people experience very severe symptoms with COVID-19. These at-risk individuals include the elderly and those who are diagnosed with other chronic health conditions or who have compromised immune systems. This is especially important to KC CARE as many of our patients could be impacted by the spread of COVID-19:
- 10% of our patients are people living with HIV/AIDS – a disease which compromises immune systems.
- 12% of our patients are over the age of 60.
- 2/3 of our patients have one or more chronic health conditions.
These numbers don’t make KC CARE that different from many other healthcare providers across the country, but we share this data to show how important it is that each of us make personal sacrifices to support the health of our community.
What to do if you feel ill.
Monitor and track your health, including fever. Other viruses, like the flu, and colds are still currently affecting many, so it’s important to note your symptoms. Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness that begins 2-14 days after exposure. Someone who gets ill with COVID-19 will generally recover within 5-14 days for a mild case, but a severe case could last up to 6-8 weeks.
Call your primary care provider. If that’s KC CARE (816.753.5144), we will ask you about your symptoms and how long you’ve experienced them. Based on that information:
- We may refer you to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services hotline described above.
- We may ask you to stay home and continue to monitor your symptoms for a number of days.
- Or we may schedule an appointment for you to come to KC CARE to meet with your primary care provider, we will ask you to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer when you arrive.
In order for KC CARE to continue to serve our patients and the community, we need to keep our staff healthy. If you are showing symptoms, please call ahead and let us know you are coming with cough and flu-like illness. We will be ready and will help you minimize exposing other patients and staff to flu, COVID, or other illness.
Do you have an appointment scheduled at KC CARE in the coming weeks?
If you have questions about coming in for an appointment, call the nurse line (816.753.5144) for discussion. We will discuss your best options for getting the treatment you require.
KC CARE will continue to provide periodic updates as often as we feel there are COVID-19 developments pertinent to our patients. KC CARE’s mission is to promote health and wellness for the underserved and all people in our community – no less so now.