Keep taking precautions against COVID-19, doctors advise
“We’re a long ways from being to the point where we don’t have to take precautions, because this thing has changed so many times. And just because you had an infection doesn’t mean that you can’t get infected again by another strain.”
WORTHINGTON — In the past few weeks, Sanford Worthington Clinic has seen an increase in COVID-19 tests that come back positive, and it might be a good idea for some people to take precautions or just keep a closer eye on the situation.
“Luckily, most individuals have very mild symptoms,” said Dr. Kevin Ree, lead physician at Sanford Worthington Clinic, noting that occasionally people do still need to go to the hospital. “Most of the time, it’s previous health problems and age.”
Health problems can include factors such as diabetes and heart disease, but even being overweight increases a patient’s chance of having a more severe bout of coronavirus.
“We’re a long ways from being to the point where we don’t have to take precautions, because this thing has changed so many times,” Ree said. “And just because you had an infection doesn’t mean that you can’t get infected again by another strain.”
Currently, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are sore throats, sinus congestion and headaches, as well as hoarseness or a raspy voice, Ree said.
People who have had symptoms for a day or two who are concerned about it should get tested, because treatments for COVID-19 need to start within the first five days in order to have the best potential outcomes.
When people come in, call in or go to the pharmacist with a positive COVID-19 test during that first five days, Paxlovid, which comes in a pill, can be administered. There are also injectable and IV treatments for outpatients in the hospital for those who can’t take Paxlovid, Ree said.
“We do have a lot of people who are doing home tests and are just calling in and saying ‘Hey, I just tested positive, what should I do?’” Ree said. “If you’re healthy and you don’t feel bad, most people in just a few days, they feel good again. If they have any of those other health problems, they should really let us know… it really increases your risk of having a more severe case.”
Anyone who is sick should stay away from other people.
Those who are healthy can take other precautions, like limiting time in closed-in areas with other people, who could have COVID-19 and either be asymptomatic or not be showing symptoms yet.
“Vaccines are going to be a huge, huge part of it. Individuals who are vaccinated have much less risk of having a severe illness as well,” said Ree, noting that vaccines are readily available right now.
At this point, it’s still people’s personal decision about whether to mask up, but if they choose to do so, people should make sure they’re wearing their masks correctly, Ree said.
“Masks do work if they’re worn correctly,” he added.
As of Friday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control listed community levels for Nobles and Osceola counties as medium, recommending that people stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines, be tested if they have symptoms, and wear a mask if they have symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19, as well as masking when on public transportation. Those at high risk should “consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions.”
Pipestone, Rock and Lyon counties had high community levels of COVID-19, and the CDC recommended that people in counties at that level wear masks indoors in public and on public transportation as well.
Cottonwood, Jackson and Dickinson counties were all listed as having low community levels of COVID-19.