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Hospital CEOs explains COVID symptoms

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:39 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -What are the Covid symptoms you should be looking for and when is it time to head to the hospital? NewsSource 8′s Kelly O’Mara continues our conversation with the four local hospital CEOs.

“Flu, like symptoms feeling like they have a cold, feeling like they have a terrible cold, worst cold of their life, shortness of breath, diarrhea, GI symptoms. It can be D all of the above. They can have every symptom. I was talking to one of our ER docs this morning, we had a number of patients in our ED Department waiting for beds. And an interesting scenario was one of our patients who tested positive for COVID, their oxygen saturation was running in the low nineties, a short while later they went in test, the patient was in their low eighties, which is very concerning. That’s when we get concerned that a patient’s going to end up on a ventilator. And the doctor asks, do you feel any different. And he said, no, I really don’t feel any different with my O2 stat that low. That’s deprivation. That’s that’s concerning as clinicians. That’s some of the symptoms that we’re seeing that’s very worrisome. And unfortunately that’s when patients, you know, their symptoms worse and they continue to fail and some end up on ventilators,” said Kris Doody, CEO of Cary Medical Center.

Is there something that people can watch for that says, this is the point when I should get myself to the hospital.

“The problem we’re seeing is that people are in denial a little bit. And it’s like, you know, we’ve always said, if you’ve got a bad fever of any kind, stay home and treat it. But you know, based on our work force and our work ethic, a lot of people say I’m going to push through it. I need to get to work. I’m not going to be a Sally about it and stay home because I have a little cold, well, it’s a lot different with these variances and this COVID pandemic. When you have those, you need to think twice, am I going to infect someone? Should I get a test? Should I call someone? I think people need to do that more diligently than say that I’m just going to fight through it and I got to go to work anyway. That’s where we get into trouble, " said Peter Sirois, CEO of Northern Maine Medical Center.

“I think one of the other important things, Kelly, if a person is at home and they end up, they’re not feeling well, you know, they have a cold, they feel like just general malaise or just not feeling well. They feel like they’ve had the flu. If they’re concerned, you don’t necessarily need to go to the hospital. That’s not necessarily the first option, it’s to get tested. Because the important thing is you need to get tested and if you’re positive, you need to be in isolation so we limit the spread. That’s the important message. We’ve learned over the last year and a half, when we opened our respiratory clinic here at Pines, we were seeing patients what we soon discovered, we don’t necessarily need to see all those patients, but they need to be swabbed, we need to get the results of their tests and get them in isolation so we limit the spread. So I’d say advice to people who are feeling symptomatic, get tested, and if you’re positive, stay in isolation for the full term, don’t go out, don’t go to the grocery store, don’t go to the gas station. Stay at home. If you need management of symptoms, we’re available to help manage on an outpatient basis to control the symptoms. But our goal is to get you better while you’re in isolation, not while you’re out in the public, because all that’s doing is spreading the virus, " Doody said.

And are you seeing a lot of breakthrough cases?

“The vast majority in the hospital are unvaccinated,” said Greg LaFrancois, CEO of Northern Light AR Gould.

“Same with us. As, as Pete mentioned earlier, we’ve had some unvaccinated patients who are pretty sick and begged to get the vaccine,” Doody said.

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