With the continued COVID-19 outbreak, Dr. David Taylor, Riverwood Healthcare’s emergency medicine physician and chief medical officer, offered up-to-date information about the coronavirus on KKIN Radio’s Community Connections program. LISTEN TO FULL INTERVIEW
“The good news is that the Shelter in Place order from Gov. Tim Walz is working to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota,” Dr. Taylor said. “Social distancing is having the impact we hoped for on the medical side of things. The State of Minnesota has significantly expanded the number of ICU beds from a month ago.”
Some key points Dr. Taylor shared in the KKIN interview include:
- Many cases of COVID-19 cause only mild or moderate illness and do not require a clinic visit; most do not require hospitalization. It’s estimated that 25% of people get infected with the virus with no symptoms at all.
- While the number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases is relatively low with only one positive case in Aitkin County and 20 in Crow Wing County (as of April 21, 2020), Riverwood providers are seeing patients who likely have the virus but are testing negative. So we know COVID-19 is here in our communities.
- The problem with the testing is that it’s most effective if a patient is tested within 3-5 days of having symptoms, which tend to be mild at first. Many are not seeking care until the symptoms have worsened after a week or so, and the test is then only 50% effective.
- The good news on testing is that it is about to become more widely available in Minnesota within a few weeks.
- There is promising news about the development of drugs to treat COVID-19, but a period of testing needs to be completed before they become widely available.
- For those visiting from out of the area, we’re following the same guidelines as larger communities for limiting in-person visits for routine care during this crisis. For non-emergency care, call Riverwood at 218-927-2157 to schedule a telehealth video appointment.
- While wearing masks in public now is recommended, thorough handwashing remains vitally important. Avoid touching your mask while wearing it.
- Riverwood virtual visits, by video or phone, are working well to provided needed health care while limiting exposure.
“At some point, 50% of us may get COVID-19 and will come through the illness just fine,” Taylor added. “But we need to protect those who are most vulnerable, the elderly and those with underlying conditions, because the virus can hit them really hard. Hang in there, we’ll get through this together.”
For information on COVID-19, visit https://riverwoodhealthcare.org/covid-19/, www.cdcgov/COVID19, or www.health.state.mn.us, or call Riverwood’s Coronavirus Helpline at 844-428-1323, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.