PHOENIX - A Valley doctor is taking social distancing to another level during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Kelly Roy, a gynecology surgeon, has transformed her clinic in hopes of helping her patients in a new way, with the help of telemedicine.
"Telemedicine works by allowing the patient to have a visit, an evaluation with a provider without having to actually be in the office," said Dr. Roy.
A patient can call or set up an appointment online. Afterwards, they will talk to a healthcare provider either over the phone or through video chat. It's a transition that Dr. Roy says is tough, but well worth the struggle.
"It's been overwhelming actually," said Dr. Roy. "We are pivoting also our surgeons, who are now not doing elective surgery, into our telemedicine platform."
As for patients that need to come in, the clinic has taken steps to ensure social distancing.
"We are separating our patients by moving out half of our exam room," said Dr. Roy.
If the time comes, Dr. Roy says they are ready to serve COVID-19 patients.
"Should the need arise for us to care for a mass number of patients with the COVID-19 disease, we are prepared to do that so telemedicine allows us to do that, as well as our resources here in our practice," said Dr. Roy.
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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.
To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.
And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.
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