Local doctor provides insight on updated Texas COVID-19 safety measures

Kiersten Ehr

SAN ANTONIO – Now that Texas has begun to reopen, many people are wondering how to go about their daily lives safely, while still practicing social distancing, and what that might mean for them.

Dr. Kristi Clark, president and CEO of HealthTexas Primary Care Doctors, has some insight on how to take proper precautions with the orders in place during this pandemic.

How long will doctors’ offices prohibit an additional person to accompany a patient to an appointment?

“Physician offices are limiting additional family members accompanying patients,” said Clark. “But there really is not a rule, it is just guidance. Physicians who care for the elderly realize that many times having an additional family member can enhance the visit by providing additional history and, of course, being able to take notes or help remember instructions.”

According to Clark, most physician offices will let you accompany your family member.

“You just need to ask and be willing to wear a mask and undergo screening processes,” Clark said. “If the physician’s office is truly unyielding, consider sending your loved one with a note. In the note, be very brief and specific with what questions you have, and be very brief with any details you wish the physician to know.”

Takeaways:

Physicians’ offices are limiting the number of visitors to their offices.Don’t bring unnecessary people to the visit.Be ready to wear a mask and the possibility of undergoing screening processes when visiting a doctor’s office.

What about people who have diabetes and take insulin? How often should they schedule televisits, or should they always see their doctors in person?

“When you have chronic medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, lung problems, it is important to keep your appointment with your physician,” Clark said. “Even if during this time it might be on video or phone. To make the most of your visit, make sure any data your physician might find useful is available for him or her, like glucose readings or blood pressure and pulse readings. If you can take your vital signs prior to the visit that is helpful.”

According to Dr. Clark, if you feel like you have your Illness under control and you are feeling well enough that you only need a routine visit, it’s OK to make your appointment as a televisit every three to six months.

“If you are acutely ill, seeing your physician in person is important,” Clark said. “If you have new symptoms that have not been previously evaluated, like cough, fever, shortness of breath, new chest pain or neurological symptoms, these types of symptoms are not conducive to a telephone visit. People with chronic illnesses who require a frequent change in medications, or monitoring blood levels, they are going to have to come in.”

Takeaways:

Continue to keep your appointments with your physician if you have chronic medical problems like diabetes.It is helpful to your doctor if you take your vital signs prior to your appointment.Physicians are seeing patients face to face.

Now that restaurants are starting to reopen, do you have any suggestions about additional precautions people can take when dining out?

“We have no evidence that the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is transmitted through food,” Clark said.

The transmission of coronavirus is most likely occurring through the mucus membranes, so our nose and mouth, according to Dr. Clark.

“The reason restaurants were closed was because of the proximity to other patrons in a restaurant, not because a person would get coronavirus from food,” Clark said. “For example, if a person sneezes or coughs, then touches a bar or table, then you touch the bar or table and then touch your face or perhaps your mouth as you are eating, this is a point of entry for the virus. The key to going to a restaurant is going to really be the cleanliness of the restaurant.”

Takeaways:

There is currently no evidence that the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is transmitted through food.The key to going to a restaurant is the state of its cleanliness.

For more information, visit healthtexas.org or call 210-731-HTMG.

Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.


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