Last Updated March 23, 2020
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an inescapable element of the world’s landscape today and is dominating the collective consciousness. There is much discussion as to what could have been done to better slow its spread, especially in the USA, and how best to handle COVID-19. The disruption that has occurred in people’s lives is readily apparent, and the economic fallout has been devastating with the Dow Jones industrial average losing a third of its value and millions of people losing their jobs or livelihood and struggling financially. Certainly much can be learned from countries that have been most successful in controlling the virus, such as South Korea. No one country or group of people is to blame for the illness, and there is plenty of finger-pointing that can be ascribed all around, and this will best be addressed once the worst of this pandemic has passed. Panic and spreading misinformation are not helpful, but COVID-19 must be taken seriously. To date, there have been approximately 15,000 deaths worldwide. While there are still significant limitations in addressing COVID-19, our goal is to avoid the fate of countries such as Italy, which recorded 800 deaths in one day this past week, and to be part of a constructive global response to this phenomenon.
For live updated statistics on the spread of coronavirus please see world meter’s website located at Worldometers.info Coronavirus Live Statistics
Currently, the basic ways of prevention include frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer. There should be a practice of social distancing. Avoidance of areas with large numbers of people is advised. Only essential visits outside of the house should be carried out. If you have symptoms such as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, cough, and shortness of breath, especially if there has been an exposure to someone who potentially has COVID-19, you should seek testing right away and practice isolation until you receive confirmation of a negative test.
We at Southwest Women’s Healthcare Center (SWHCC) have our patients and the community as our highest concern. We are aiming to educate and positively impact public policy. Also, our goal is to best serve our patients and their families. As our services and care our essential elements, we remain open and working day and night for our community and people. It is necessary that we stay available to take care of our patients, as our role in the community is sacrosanct. Having said that, we also must do everything we possibly can to protect our patients, and thus we ask for your understanding and patience as we make temporary changes in response to the epidemic. Our partner facilities such as Uniontown Hospital and Jefferson Regional Medical Center are making similar changes. No elective surgeries at hospitals are allowed at this time, per decree of the government of Pennsylvania.
Part of the effort to reduce transmission is to maintain social distance and minimize the number of people present in one room at a time. We request you not to bring anyone with you to your appointments. If you need someone to bring you for transportation, we request they wait outside in the vehicle. If you wish to remain in your vehicle while you wait, which we would encourage, please ensure the front desk has your current phone number to call you or your vehicle make and model when they’re ready to bring you back to the exam room. We are unable to allow any visitors to come back with you for your appointment unless there is a special circumstance such as a special needs patient or an incarcerated patient. If you wish to have someone on the telephone during your consultation, we would welcome that. We always love to see your children during visits, but at this time we request they not be brought with you. While it seems children are less likely to be affected and when they are they have milder symptoms, nevertheless they can be carriers and spread the virus to more susceptible people, such as the elderly who could die from COVID-19. If however you have no choice, but to bring your child, we will understand.
At SWHCC to optimize safety and prevent spread, not only are we disinfecting every exam room after each patient’s visit, but we are also cleaning all the surfaces that people would touch in the whole office (such as door knows, toilet handles, etc) every hour. We are disinfecting pens in between patients. Also, we are cleaning the window sill at reception and items nearby after every person comes to the window. Please do not be offended when you see the staff doing this. This is a universal precaution they are carrying out with everyone.
If you are breastfeeding, and you begin to have symptoms of COVID-19, please continue to do so. The antibodies will be protective to your newborn. You should, however, begin self-quarantine and notify us or your PCP to obtain a referral for testing. This should especially be done if you have a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The closest testing center to our Uniontown office is in the parking lot of the former Kmart near Lowes in Uniontown, PA near route 21/McClellandtown Rd.
If you are feeling ill, we ask that you stay home or seek treatment at the hospital if you have severe symptoms. If you or someone in your household is 60 years old or above or is someone who is immunocompromised, you should stay home and should only come to the office if your appointment is for something urgent. Please call us to notify us you will be re-scheduling.
Many patients are concerned about risks to pregnant mothers and their fetuses. It does not appear that pregnant women are any more at risk than the average member of the population. Also, there is no evidence that it crosses the placenta. For example in China women with the Coronavirus did not pass it on to their newborns. We encourage pregnant women to take the usual precautions to avoid COVID-19.
Again we apologize for the disruption all this is causing you. This is a painful time for us all. As always we must carry out sound medical practices for the good of all. All of humanity must come together and collaborate to try to prevent as many deaths and as much destruction as possible.
For more information, you can find live updates at:
List of businesses that may continue operations in Pennsylvania:
A message from Rod Hojat, MD, FACOG