COVID-19 Is Still Out There
Physician urges diligence as businesses, community reopen amidst pandemic
By Dr. William Kim, Chief Medical Advisor, Beach Cities Health District
As our restaurants, barbershops, salons and other businesses were preparing to re-open, COVID-19 took a back seat to the civil unrest taking place nationwide following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
COVID-19 is still here. And it’s still highly contagious and deadly. Since June 8, the positivity rate for patients testing at the County’s Redondo Beach test site has risen to 6.5%, ahead of the overall county positivity rate of 5.6%.
The medical community is also concerned that some recent protests will be “super spreader” events – we’ll know more about this in the coming days and weeks. Remember, the incubation period for COVID-19 can last up to two weeks, with people having the virus and not knowing if they are spreading it to those they encounter. It only takes a handful of infected people at a crowded event to spread this virus to hundreds more, who in turn can pass it on to others – that’s how viruses spread.
We need to remain vigilant to stop the spread of COVID-19. The risk of transmission is still high, so we must avoid being exposed. We need to remember the following:
– The virus doesn’t have wings or legs; it can only be spread by us. Proper physical distancing is a readily available tool against the coronavirus.
– Wear a face covering. A scarf or torn-up t-shirt can cut down 50 percent of respiratory droplets. Face coverings, though, are not a replacement for physical distancing and washing your hands.
– Wash your hands. The warmer the water, the better. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds – all around, back, front and between your fingers.
– If you or a family member is quarantined, it’s best that they have their own room and, especially, their own bathroom because flushing a toilet can aerosolize COVID-19 particles.
– If you feel ill and are showing symptoms, the first thing to do is call your primary care provider for directions. Otherwise, call the hospital – in advance – so they can properly receive you, do triage, and check your oxygen saturation, temperature and vitals. These results will determine next steps.
Torrance Memorial’s “Ask a Nurse Hotline” at 310-517-1111, or Providence Little Company of Mary at 888-432-5464 (888-HEALING) are particularly adept at answering COVID-19 questions and can help sort through symptoms. The Beach Cities Health District Assistance, Information & Referral line at 310-374-3426, ext.256 can connect you with errand assistance, testing and other health-related information or their website, bchd.org/coronavirus, has great information about coronavirus and getting help in our area.
The past few months have been tough, and, unfortunately, it may not get better for months to come. We must remain positive and diligent. The entire Beach Cities community is in this together. We need to continue to regularly check on our neighbors and friends because we have to look out for others more than we’re used to. Everybody needs emotional support.
Until a treatment or vaccine is identified, we’re focused on mitigation and stopping the further spread of the virus. We’re working on the economic recovery, trying to get businesses reopened, but we’ll also need to recover physically and emotionally.
We’re in the midst of a pandemic, but there is hope. Our local community has excellent medical support and new COVID-19 treatments and potential preventive vaccines are being researched. For now, though, strictly follow the COVID-19 rules, be kind to everybody and we’ll get to the other side of the curve together.
Dr. William E. Kim, MD, was born in Kansas City, Mo., and lived in Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon while growing up. Board certified in internal medicine, he specialized in emergency medicine for 10 years at the old South Bay Hospital, then transitioned into private practice with the South Bay Family Medical Group. Today, Dr. Kim manages his own practice, which provides personalized/concierge 24-7 services, and serves as Chief Medical Advisor for Beach Cities Health District.
by Dan Smith