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By Hilde Kate Lysiak
The Orange Street News spoke with Patagonia Health Center Nurse Practitioner Timothy Penniston about a range of issues including the testing process, symptoms to look for, when residents should seek medical care, and other issues. Read the full interview below.
What are some symptoms of the coronavirus that should make someone want to come in and get tested? What are the signs?
Any kind of cold or flu will be your symptoms. Runny nose. Cough. Shortness of breath. High fever. Not a mild fever. Generally a high fever. Sometimes abdominal symptoms. Sometimes nausea and vomiting..
Its really vague in a lot of ways
I guess at this point they are not really recommending testing everyone because they don’t have enough testing kits
So if you have a mild cold or something like that just stay home. Most people will get over this stuff without any kind of intervention or treatment.
So the testing criteria right now are pneumonia, shortness of breath, things that require hospitalization,
Do you have testing kits yet?
We have the testing kits at the main clinic at the Mariposa Community Health Center
Are you getting them here?
Probably not here specifically. But if someone needs to be tested in the area somebody from our lab will come up and do the testing.
What if they do have it? What is the next step?
If you have the covid-19 and your not having pneumonia or severe respiratory problems you are going to go home, drink plenty of fluids, your take some Tylenol, and your going to wait it out. If you are having severe respiratory symptoms than at that point you are going to need to be hospitalized.,
Have you had anyone come in here who thought they had it and wanted to get tested?
We have had several people who think they have it and several people wanted to get tested but I haven;t seen any people who I thought actually had it.
So you don’t test anyone who wants to be tested?
No, they have to meet a certain criteria just because we don’t have enough test kits for everybody.
What should people in Patagonia do to protect themselves?
Right now the social distancing thing. So don’t gather in large groups. They say over ten people. Don’t hang out with anyone who is sick. If you know someone who is sick and they don’t need to be hospitalized or treated at the clinic here tell them to go home. Stay home until they get feeling better and I think right now the country is in kind of a state of panic and unfortunately when that happens it doesn’t solve any problems it just makes things worse. So don’t be afraid. Don’t panic. I think really the nation has a good response going on as far as what can be done. This is really like an act of nature. It is like trying to stop a tornado. It’s not something you can really do. All we can do is mitigate the damage that is caused.
Did you test any of the people who came in?
We have, as far as Mariposa has tested, a half of dozen people so far and no one has turned up positive.
What about here?
We have not tested anyone here. I can tell you the people with respiratory problems have recovered with just standard treatments.
Is there anything you would like to add or would want people to know?
Yes. If you can help out your neighbor, this is the time to spread good cheer. This is the time to draw together as a community and come together, help one another, and I think that is what will get us through this more than anything else?