SAN ANTONIO – There are a lot of questions right now about the novel coronavirus specifically known as COVID-19.
Dr. Kristi Clark, president and CEO of HealthTexas Primary Care Doctors, has some insight on how to take proper precautions during this unprecedented time.
I’m following our elected officials’ orders and staying home. But when I do go to the grocery store, should I really be wearing a mask?
“Earlier in this pandemic, masks were reserved only for those that were ill," Clark said. “Then later for health care workers, whether or not the patient they were caring for was ill. Because it seems that a person can be infected with coronavirus for up to 14 days before showing symptoms, individuals can shed viral particles when they talk, sneeze and cough. A cloth mask might decrease some of those particles.”
If you are going to a grocery store or pharmacy, where you cannot control how close others may come to you, it would be a good place to wear a mask.
- If distancing by more than 6 feet is not able to be maintained, it is recommended to wear a cloth mask.
- Don’t wear a surgical mask: Those are critical PPE supplies.
- You still need to social distance.
Is it possible to get a false positive or a false negative test for coronavirus?
“Very early in the disease process, a false negative could occur because there are not enough viral particles being shed to be detected by the test," Clark said.
- Early in the disease process, a false negative could occur.
- Tests used by Metro Health and San Antonio practitioners are very sensitive and very unlikely to have a false positive.
If I get COVID-19, am I protected from getting it again?
“We don’t have the full answer to this yet," Clark said. “Yes, our body does produce antibodies that should provide some protection from a repeat infection.”
- We are learning as we go.
- Doctors don’t know the long-term effects, and how much of an antibody response would be necessary to prevent a secondary infection.
Can you have both the flu and the coronavirus?
“Yes, the likelihood of having the flu is higher when the flu season is in full swing," Clark said. "Flu is becoming less likely. For flu, a person can be treated with oral medications or intravenous medications if they are in a hospital. As for coronavirus, the treatment is supportive. This means there is no medication at this time known to be active against the coronavirus like there is for the flu.”
- We are in the tail end of flu season.
- There are medications for the flu.
- Treatment for coronavirus is supportive.
For more information, visit healthtexas.org or call 210-731-HTMG.