Ask the Doc: Dr. Rani Whitfield answers your coronavirus questions

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Dr. Rani Whitfield with the Our Lady of the Lake Physician’s Group joined NBC Local33 News Today’s Gerron Jordan, Wednesday, to discuss the latest COVID-19 developments, the importance of social distancing and the most at-risk groups who need to be extra cautious as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Staying at home saves live” said Dr. Whitfield. “I’m seeing a lot of activity because we haven’t seen a ton of folks that feel bad, but that’s the problem” he said.

“When we talk about flattening the curve we want to limit the exposure and stretch it out over a long period of time” Dr. Whitfield said. “But we also want to raise the line” he added.

Dr. Whitfield says his office has started to see patients via telemedicine in an effort to reduce the amount of person to person contact, limiting the spread of coronavirus.

“A patient can call in and I can see them on the phone or on the screen and we have a conversation about their symptoms and their regular health” Whitfield said. “We’re trying to keep sick folks from bringing illness into the office… if we can reduce the exposure, get more testing done, then we can really study this virus and see what’s happening and hopefully come up with a treatment or vaccine” he said.

Doctors have said that people with underlying health issues are more at risk for having difficulty recovering from the virus. Dr. Whitfield says those underlying health issues cover a range of illnesses.

“We’re talking about chronic illnesses… hypertension, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic lung problems, diabetes” he said. “People that have these chronic illnesses tend to not do well when they get the virus” Whitfield said.

“If you have a young person that’s infected and the incubation period can be between two to 14 days, they’re feeling fine, but they go around their grandparents who may have these chronic underlying illnesses they can put them at risk in the hospital or potentially die” he said.

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