By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
The administration at Bolivar Medical Center asks those who think they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms to call ahead before coming to the hospital.
Cases of the novel coronavirus are adding up by the day and the United States is poised to top 150,000 this week.
Mississippi is approaching 1,000 cases and there have been 11 confirmed in Bolivar County as of Monday.
The Mississippi State Department of Health is currently advising that no one be tested unless they are showing symptoms of fever over 100.4 degrees and severe cough or chest pain.
Caitlyn Thompson, director of marketing at Bolivar Medical Center, said the facility’s guidelines say to call before arrival.
“Basically, just tell them your symptoms and that you’re experiencing the fever, the difficulty breathing, and then if you’ve traveled or been possibly exposed to someone that is sick,” Thompson said. “They can call and have that conversation so (the hospital) can be properly prepared when you arrive for the check.
“What we’ve been doing at the walk-in clinic for the individuals who call ahead, they enter through a separate entrance, so they are not additionally exposing anyone else that doesn’t need to be exposed.”
The coronavirus currently has no vaccine and is estimated to be about two times more contagious than the flu.
The biggest concern with the virus is the unknown, which is why social distancing and preparedness are at the top of lists for containing its spread.
“That’s the best guidance for the public at this point is to make that phone call so that everybody can be prepared whether it is the phone call to the emergency department because it’s 2 o’clock in the morning or if it’s the phone call to the primary care provider or if you don’t have one to the walk-in clinic,” Thompson said. “That way they can be prepared and limit the chance of exposure to anyone.”
Thompson said the hospital originally received an influx of people asking to be tested in order to give them peace of mind.
“That has slowed now that there is guidance.
“It has been an education process to the patient from a clinic perspective.”
Thompson said the environment is ever changing and the public should be prepared for more information to come out.
As for those with other medical needs, Bolivar Medical Center and Cleveland Medical Clinic have started promoting telemedicine appointments to address patients with non-urgent and non-emergent medical needs.
Patients will need an Android, iPhone or iPad for video calls and can set an appointment online or by calling 662-843-3606.
“If it’s not medically necessary to enter the building and the appointment can be conducted via telemedicine, we are encouraging patients to do that,” Thompson said. “We send out text messages to all the patients and try to blanket it through social media and other elements. That’s just one initiative that we are going forward to limit the exposure and keep it from skyrocketing.”
The Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings to consumers of fraudulent coronavirus test kits, vaccines and treatments.
There are no FDA-approved vaccines for the coronavirus as of now.
Taking medicines or treatments outside of a doctor’s recommendation can have serious adverse effects to your health.
The FDA has issued warning letters to companies that are promoting products with fraudulent coronavirus diagnostic, prevention and treatment claims.
There are currently no home test kits for coronavirus and any test taken should be at the discretion of one’s doctor and under their supervision.
The FDA warns that one risks unknowingly spreading the virus or not getting treated appropriately if you take testing or treatment into your own hands.