WATCH: UAB provides update on current state of COVID-19

Coronavirus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) UAB is set to host an update regarding the current state of COVID-19.

Eric Wallace, M.D., medical director of UAB Medicine and Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., a professor in UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases both spoke regarding the coronavirus.

Wallace described UAB’s current TeleHealth system capabilities, explaining many patients’ needs and concerns can be handled over the phone. He also said that the system should have video capability by the end of the week.

While this technology does look promising, Wallace said, “there are some things that have to be done in-person.” He said for those who can be handled via TeleHealth, the hospital will try to convert those patients to phone visits, freeing up space at the hospitals.

Wallace emphasized the importance of keeping non-urgent and asymptomatic patients away from the hospital, as it takes away hospital resources and puts health care professionals at risk. He warns that the more hospital staff members get sick, the fewer professionals will be available.

Marrazzo, who specializes in infectious diseases, encouraged potential patients to assess their symptoms and risks because tests are limited. She explained that UAB attempted a self-referral testing program. That attempt resulted in overly long lines, leaving those who need critically need testing waiting extensively. Simply, Marrazzo says if you don’t have symptoms, you don’t need a test.

Further, Marrazzo explained that UAB prioritizes patients based on need: the critically ill being at the top of the list and those who are asymptomatic are at the bottom.

To decipher fact from myth when it comes to coronavirus, Marrazzo encouraged people to visit the CDC website and UAB’s coronavirus website. In regard to preventative methods to take, she recommends washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds at a time and practicing social distancing.

For more on the latest UAB updates regarding the coronavirus visit.


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