As COVID-19 becomes more widespread—Dodge County has six confirmed cases as of Thursday—doctors continue to urge social distancing and other safety precautions to contain the respiratory illness.
Dr. Seth Barudin, a family practitioner in Beaver Dam for UW Health, said one precaution he is taking is seeing fewer patients face to face.
“Most of our care can be done via telephone or telehealth, including answering questions, providing lab results and prescribing or renewing medications,” Barudin said. “However, providers can still see a patient if they believe an exam is necessary.”
The goal is to ensure those with severe illnesses, injury or COVID-19 symptoms can receive care in the appropriate locations including drive-by screening, urgent care or the emergency room, Barudin said.
“We prioritize testing for those in our community who are experiencing symptoms or have medical vulnerabilities such as pregnancy, transplantation, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes and those 60 and older, Barudin said. “As the availability of testing increases, those tested will as well.”
Those who feel they may have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, and believe they are a candidate for testing or symptom management, should call 877-998-0022. A medical professional will conduct an over-the-phone screening to determine if a COVID-19 test is appropriate. If so, the individual will be directed to the COVID-19 Clinic being held by the Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam.
Barudin said those with symptoms can also call the UW Health COVID-19 hotline at 608-720-5300, call their clinic or send a message via MyChart.
Barudin suggested the following steps to prevents spread of the virus:
- Stay at home. Leave only if you need to for work, to get groceries or to do some other essential function. When possible, get groceries, medications and necessities delivered. If you do go out, practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others. Going outside for fresh air and exercise is okay if you continue to practice safe social distancing.
- If you are sick, do not interact with others and you should physically separate from your family as much as possible.
- Keep your hands clean and wipe down surfaces in your home.
- Talk to your kids about their concerns. Get creative with learning, games, activities and exercise. This could be a traumatic time for them, and they need to understand both the risks and the steps their family, school and health care providers are taking to keep them safe.
- Take care of your mental health. Reach out to your care team or support team if you are feeling alone, anxious or overwhelmed. People with anxiety and depression may find themselves with worsening symptoms during this time and may need to adjust their care.
It is also important to remember the community in your day-to-day actions and not hoard supplies, Barudin said.
“Settle in,” Barudin said. “It could be months until we see a return to some form of normalcy. Structure your day and keep exercising. Check news resources periodically, but not constantly. We are all in this together and need to do our best to keep this virus from spreading.”
Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.
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