With flu season still underway and allergy season starting up, it is hard to discern between the two and COVID-19 (Coronavirus) symptoms.

“Mostly flu like symptoms, but it is coughing, shortness of breath, fever, is a triad of the most common things,” said Dr. William Moss, Emergency Response director at The Medical Center in Bowling Green.

Other symptoms can include a sore throat, nasal drainage and sneezing has presented in a few patients with chest pains, body aches and on a small scale diarrhea in others.

“Everybody is a little different, anything in that category should be suspect, or suspect that you have something that needs to be checked out,” Moss said.

The Medical Center at Franklin is able do the testing and send it out to a reference lab with a 24 hour turnaround time. Moss said the turnaround time is a lot better than it was a week ago, with patients having to wait seven days for results.

Moss said the test for the virus are two nasal swabs testing for any possible virus. The ones at risk the most are people over the age of 60 or with a preexisting condition.

He said if you start showing minor symptoms to quarantine yourself, but go to the emergency room if the symptoms progress and worsen. The hospital started preparing to take on more patients and getting supplies about three weeks ago when it became clear the virus was not contained in China, Moss said.

“We actually started doing run throughs of patients on how we would approach a patient if they walked in the front door, how we would approach anybody who came to the front door with a fever,” Moss said. “We went through all the processes and procedures on how we would handle that.”

He said that as of the interview there were no confirmed cases in the area, but they were testing people daily. The most dangerous aspect of the virus are the delayed onset of symptoms, meaning people could be spreading the virus for several days before knowing they have it.

“Right now there are no known treatments, there are some medicines out there that are showing some promise,” Moss said. “The good news is, it is still 85% of patients won’t even have to be in a hospital, they will be fine at home.”

Anyone that has tested positive for the virus will need to follow up with their health department before going out, he said. They will need to have two more swabs done to prove they no longer have the virus.

“I think social distancing is an important thing right now, I think the governor shutting down a lot of locations people gather at, I know it is difficult, but it really is going to be the best thing to blunt this,” Moss said.

The goal for social distancing, besides trying to stop the virus from spreading, is to keep the numbers down so there is not a flood of patients at the hospital at one time. Other ways to prevent the virus from spreading is washing your hands, avoid touching your face and mouth.

“We are finding out more everyday on how we can contain this better, but just be appraised of any news that comes out,” Moss said.

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