By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
Ascension, the faith-based healthcare organization that’s dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care, is working to keep its community of patients healthy and informed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization has updated its website almost daily and also is pointing visitors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Situation Summary page.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads person-to-person and has affected people in many countries. Dr. Joseph Cacchione, the executive vice president of Clinical and Network Services at Ascension, has spelled out five essential things to keep in mind that he said could help limit potential exposure to the coronavirus.
“COVID-19 is a virus that causes mild cold-like symptoms in the majority of patients but could lead to more serious illness including pneumonia in elderly individuals and those who have chronic medical conditions,” Dr. Cacchione wrote on Ascension’s website.
Thus, elderly individuals and patients with chronic medical conditions should take more considerable precautions to avoid exposure, he noted.
As for precautions, Dr. Cacchione encouraged all to take precautions regardless of age or precondition.
“Stay away from crowds and others who are sick, wash your hands often and for about 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face. It’s also a good idea to clean and disinfect surfaces you touch,” Dr. Cacchione said.
If one is experiencing cold-like symptoms, it’s vital they stay at home, rest, and avoid exposing others. “Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue away,” Dr. Cacchione stated.
If symptoms worsen or individuals develop shortness of breath, they should call their doctor, he added.
For those concerned about recent travel, Dr. Cacchione wrote that it’s important to inform your physician if an individual has visited a country with widespread COVID-19 within the last two weeks and has symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
“Call ahead and let a healthcare provider know your symptoms and travel history before you visit a doctor’s office or emergency room, so we can help keep everyone safe from any potential spread,” he said.
Finally, Dr. Cacchione added, for easy access to a doctor for urgent care visits without leaving home, use online care from a telephone or mobile device.
“Ascension Online Care offers visits with a doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from work, travel, or home,” he said.
Ascension patients can receive virtual care and, by using the code “HOME,” all will receive a $20 discount on visits.
The Ascension app is available in all 50 states, and insurance isn’t required. To download the app, visit www.ascension.org/onlinecare.