COVID-19 at Altitude Update

This is a Corona virus update from Children’s Hospital of Colorado and Ebert Family Clinic as of March 27, 2020.

Dr. Chris attended the weekly Children’s Hospital providers update webinar last night.  The good news is that the number of admissions and outpatient visits for children with respiratory illness is down by 50% compared to this time in previous years.

Another hopeful report about COVID transmission is that only 10% of family members develop symptoms when someone in the household becomes ill.

Testing priority update:

  1. Hospitalized patients and health care workers with symptoms;
  2. People in long term care and/or over age 65 with underlying health conditions, first responders and those working with seniors AND symptoms;
  3. Others with milder symptoms.

Testing involves inserting a swab deep into the nasopharynx. This requires having the swabs, tubes, protective equipment for the care provider, test kits and coordinated delivery of the specimens. There are shortages in all these areas, along with the risk to the health care worker. Thus, in Colorado at Children’s Hospital and in Summit County there are very limited controlled locations where respiratory specimens are collected. Currently, this is at the Summit County Community Care Clinic at a station behind the medical office building.

Anyone needing a test or face-to-face exam for respiratory symptoms must call ahead to any of these locations providing care: 970-668-4040.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control recommend we continue providing well child care to those under age 2 in order to maintain vaccination rates at a level that will reduce the risk of another outbreak, such as measles or pertussis. If the child or any family member has respiratory symptoms, the visit should be rescheduled.

Telehealth visits for everyone with mild or moderate respiratory illness are being offered at Ebert Family Clinic and most other facilities. Because the illness can rapidly worsen, even after five days, IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU HAVE A PULSE OXIMETER TO MONITOR YOUR OXYGEN. Blood oxygen saturation level is a critical vital sign that greatly aids in medical assessment. You can obtain a pulse oximeter at any pharmacy or at Ebert Family Clinic: (970) 668-1616.

Most patients can be treated at home with oxygen if they have saturation readings in the 80’s or high 70’s, but a rapid increase in oxygen requirement, shortness of breath, and readings below 75% merit an evaluation in the Emergency Room. CALL BEFORE YOU GO! (970) 668-8123. 

Health care providers in the mountains can evaluate your breathing effort by phone and video, and order oxygen to be delivered to your home.

Ibuprofen is safe (barring allergy), and along with acetaminophen, are the only medications recommended to treat the fever and pain (headache, backache, earache) of COVID-19, according to the infectious disease experts at Children’s Hospital. Other medications mentioned in the news are experimental, used on very ill patients in the hospital, and could possibly make an individual’s condition worse.

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