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Published on April 14, 2020

Avera Reminds Public to Get “Back to Basics” With COVID-19

Avera health professionals are encouraging everyone to review the basics of COVID-19 awareness and prevention.

First, know what to do if you think you might have the virus. Symptoms include fever over 100 degrees, as well as cough or shortness of breath appearing in the past 14 days.

Call 1-877-AT-AVERA or your clinic first – only visit the Emergency Room for an emergency situation. “This step protects all patients and it gives people clear directions about what they should do in the case of symptoms,” said Kevin Post, DO, Avera Medical Group Chief Medical Officer. “The majority of cases do not require hospitalization and can be treated at home.”

In the case of emergency symptoms that could be life-threatening, get immediate help. Call your local emergency room or 911 to inform them you have COVID-19 symptoms, then go. Emergency symptoms include bluish lips or skin, difficulty breathing, or fever over 104 degrees that doesn’t respond to treatment.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Avera clinics are offering other options for safe care, including virtual visits. Clinics also have designated separate areas of the building or time frames for patients who have health care needs other than respiratory illness.

Avera hospitals are preparing for a predicted surge in COVID-19 patients. “Current modeling suggests a statewide peak of COVID-19 infections around mid-June, and we expect a steady increase to start later this month,” Post said.

Measures have included postponing elective procedures to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) like surgical masks. Hospitals are planning for how to increase hospital bed capacity in space such as surgical suites, physical therapy rooms, or areas that are currently unused.

Post reminds area residents to do what they can to help flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Especially avoid contact with anyone who is sick
  • Stay home when you are sick except to get medical care
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you cannot wash
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Get COVID-19 updates at Avera.org/COVID-19. Learn more about virtual visits at Avera.org/virtual-visits.

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