TRINITY CLINIC

primary care research & academics

covid-19 faq

We are experiencing uncontrolled community spread in our area.

To keep local control of COVID-19, we advise all citizens to take mitigation measures seriously to keep our local numbers relatively low:

  1. Wear a mask when in public to protect others
  2. Social distance to protect yourself
  3. Avoid indoor gatherings of any size for prolonged periods
  4. Avoid all indoor gatherings if masks aren’t being used
  5. Wash hands frequently
  6. Stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms
  7. Get tested if you are experiencing any symptoms

Contact information for local COVID-19 testing sites:

Health Department (352) 629-0137

Heart of Florida – Marion Oaks (352) 732-6599

Nona Scientific (352) 260-4700

Express Care of Belleview (352) 347-5225

CareSpot Urgent Care (352) 237-3536

CVS Villages (352) 751-4700

Rainbow River Medical Dunnellon (352) 489-0126

Walgreens Villages (352) 330-6722

Absolute Health (352) 854-5530

Express Care of Ocala (352) 732-9888

Chronic COVID (Long Haulers)

There are several studies and papers that have estimated 5-25% of people who contract COVID have some form of chronic symptoms, sometimes called post-acute COVID-19 or ‘long-haulers’.

These symptoms vary significantly and include intense fatigue, headaches, cognitive decline, memory deficits, neuropathy, muscle pain, cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, shortness of breath, chronic cough, joint pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can last from 8 weeks to many months or even result in permanent disability. The figure presented is 10% of the cumulative total of non-acute COVID cases, which is a low estimate.

*During an active pandemic, the gathering, verifying, communicating, and reporting of data is a difficult and sometimes delayed process. Some figures may change as data are compiled and verified.

FAQs

“You are confusing overall population death rate with cause-specific death rate (case fatality rate). If you want to calculate infant mortality rate, you divide the numbers of infants that died by the total number of infants born. You wouldn’t divide the number of infants that died by the total population. If you want to calculate the fatality rate of prostate cancer, you don’t divide the number of people who died from prostate cancer by the total population. Half the population doesn’t even have a prostate.

The best example is deaths by lightning strike. The fatality rate is the number of people who died divided by the number of people struck by lightning. It’s the same with COVID. The fatality rate is the number of people who died from COVID divided by the number of people who tested positive. Calculating overall population deaths rates is only epidemiologically useful when comparing numbers from year to year.”

“We do talk about the flu. Doctors, healthcare providers, and health departments push flu vaccines aggressively every fall. However, it isn’t necessary to report on local active flu cases because it is far less contagious than COVID, far less deadly, and does not cause hospitals to become overrun. Furthermore, the U.S. experiences about 5,000-15,000 confirmed flu deaths each year. But because relatively few people are actually tested for the flu, the CDC offers an estimated death total at the end of the season, which is typically 40,000-60,000 total deaths.

The 2019-2020 flu season in the U.S. was estimated at 38 million cases and 22,000 deaths. For perspective, as of early December, the U.S. has seen 15 million COVID cases and 285,000 deaths over a period of nine months. Mandating regional lockdowns aren’t necessary for the flu because hospital ICUs are never filled with flu patients.

Marion County has enjoyed a quiet flu season so far. We usually have 35-50 deaths per year due to influenza. The expectation this year is 30-35, with most deaths occurring in December-February, as is typical. Although they may be somewhat busier than usual, rarely do Marion County hospitals have more than one or two flu patients admitted to the ICU at a time.

For perspective, the worst flu season in the last 10 years, 2017/18, there were approximate 810,000 total hospitalizations in the U.S., while there are over 100,000 COVID hospitalizations this week alone.

Flu season will be lighter than usual because influenza is 2-10x less contagious than COVID, many individuals have already received the flu vaccination, and approximately half of our local population is practicing conscientious social distancing and masking, which will slow the spread of the flu even better than it does COVID. Importantly, those who end up hospitalized for any viral illness are tested for both the flu and COVID.”

“In the U.S., there were 2.8 million total deaths in 2018 and 2.9 million total deaths in 2019. So far in 2020, there have been approximately 400,000 more deaths than usual. As of early December, only 285,000 have been attributed to COVID. The true COVID death toll is likely even higher than what is reported.

Doctors and medical examiners are vigilant about listing COVID as a cause of death appropriately. In the U.S. 90-95% of people who died from COVID had an underlying condition like being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or a suppressed immune system. This means that 90-95% of COVID death certificates will include one or more of these underlying conditions.

Some people who die of COVID may have active cancer or heart disease. This does not mean they were days from dying. Less than 5% of local deaths occurred in people who were at the end of life, with less than 90 days expected to live.

 

In Florida, the State Department of Health provides a secondary verification that COVID actually contributed to the cause of death. For example, if somebody died of an accident and happened to test positive for COVID the day before, the health department excludes this death from the total COVID death count, even if a doctor mistakenly listed COVID on the death certificate. More than 10 deaths have been removed from Marion County’s total COVID death count because the death did not meet the strict criteria to be associated with COVID.”

“Masks are far from a perfect solution to ending the COVID pandemic, but when worn appropriately over the nose and mouth, they are a cheap and simple mitigation tool to significantly minimize spread.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is about 0.1 micron in size. But the virus doesn’t leave the body traveling alone. It is contained within respiratory droplets, which are 5-10 microns in size. Virtually all masks will capture particles as small as 1 micron.

The most important concept to understand is that masks are most helpful when a COVID carrier is wearing a mask. The mask captures respiratory droplets leaving the nose and mouth on the inner lining, preventing most viral droplets from entering the air around the mask-wearer. This is the reason surgeons wear a mask. The mask doesn’t protect the surgeon, it protects the patient on the operating table from infection due to respiratory droplets from the surgeon.”

“Masks are far from a perfect solution to ending the COVID pandemic, but when worn appropriately over the nose and mouth, they are a cheap and simple mitigation tool to significantly minimize spread.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is about 0.1 micron in size. But the virus doesn’t leave the body traveling alone. It is contained within respiratory droplets, which are 5-10 microns in size. Virtually all masks will capture particles as small as 1 micron.

The most important concept to understand is that masks are most helpful when a COVID carrier is wearing a mask. The mask captures respiratory droplets leaving the nose and mouth on the inner lining, preventing most viral droplets from entering the air around the mask-wearer. This is the reason surgeons wear a mask. The mask doesn’t protect the surgeon, it protects the patient on the operating table from infection due to respiratory droplets from the surgeon.

Most simply stated, my mask protects you.

To further understand when to wear a mask, let’s look at two scenarios. The first scenario is two people, one with asymptomatic COVID and one without, in a 10×10 room with no ventilation. Even if both people are wearing a mask, the risk of the uninfected person catching COVID increases the longer they are in the room together. Some viral respiratory droplets will inevitably escape around the side or top of the mask. One of those droplets may linger in the air and sneak around the mask of the uninfected person.

The second scenario is two people, one with COVID and one without, walking past each other in a parking lot on a breezy day during an extremely brief encounter, and without speaking. Even if neither person is wearing a mask, the risk of the uninfected person catching COVID is virtually zero. This is because they are near each other for so little time, and the breeze disperses the respiratory droplets.

Nearly any risk scenario you could imagine falls between these two extremes. Good judgement dictates that wearing a mask is almost always appropriate. The main risk factors of viral spread are proximity, air flow, and the length of time of the exposure. For those who claim to always wear a mask, but still catch COVID, they almost always catch it when they are unmasked. Usually when they are with a friend, relative, or co-worker.”