Our Expert's Message

By Dr. Gregory Warner, D.O.

There is much uncertainty about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. I’m here to remind you that knowledge is power, and you have the power to make smart decisions that will keep you and your family safe.

For starters, believe all the hype about hand-washing. It can save your life. In the hospital, we train our team to “foam in and foam out” – every patient, every time. That’s been our mantra for years.

What to do if you’re sick?

First, don’t panic. Treat this the way you’d treat the flu – stay home, take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and monitor your temperature.

If you are in one of the vulnerable categories, based on age or with a compromised immune system, then reach out to your provider.

Should you be tested? Good question.

The answer generally is no – unless you suspect you’ve been exposed to the virus. Talk to your provider by calling or sending an email message. If you are a NorthBay Healthcare patient, you can use MyNorthBayDoc to communicate.

Patients who are concerned they may have been exposed to coronavirus should call first before coming to a NorthBay facility – they should not just walk in but rather call for an appointment

If you become sick, stay home from work and school to avoid infecting others.  Avoid going to the emergency room unless you are suffering from more serious symptoms of the coronavirus or the flu, which include:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath;
  • Chest or abdominal pain or pressure;
  • Sudden dizziness;
  • Confusion;
  • Severe or persistent vomiting; and
  • Symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.

You should continue to monitor the CDC website and NorthBay.org for suggestions and updates.

Be well. And wash your hands frequently!

The author is NorthBay Healthcare’s infectious disease specialist and medical director for Infection Prevention.