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COVID safety5414

We are happy to announce that both the Pineville and Oceana offices will be resuming their usual patient schedule starting on May 1st - including routine vision examinations. Over the past few weeks, we have been vigilant in creating an environment in our office with safety for our patients and staff first and foremost. You will notice some changes since your last visit, but we hope the hometown feeling you've always experienced remains the same. The following is a list of policies we have enacted for our patients and staff. Please review before your appointment and follow these guidelines for the health of everyone in our office. We are so looking forward to seeing everyone's faces again!

Dr.'s Kevin and Joy Kissel, O.D.'s

 

What knowledge have we gained so far that we can use to take back control of our daily lives.

COVID-19 has changed our lives drastically this spring. We all know this, but the good news is that it seems to be waning and appears to behave like other seasonal viruses in its susceptibility to heat and humidity, so BRING ON SUMMER! We at Kissel Family Optometry know this has been unsettling on the community and hope the following information helps give some perspective on how the virus has behaved so far and also what preventative measures we can take for ourselves in the future.

New blood antibody tests are giving us unprecedented information on the actual viral penetrance in society - in other words, we are finally getting information on exactly how many people already have immune response to the virus. New York, due to its misfortune of being a “hot spot”, is providing data on how the virus infects a population before much mitigation. So let’s give you some numbers as a visual to explain this. Random antibody testing in NYC show 21% of population has immune response to COVID-19 and 14% of  New York state population outside the city has also been exposed.You may think this sounds incredibly high and alarming, but look what that means in numbers.

Population of NYC               8.4 million                           Population of NY   11 million

Exposed NYC                        1.76 million                           Exposed NY           1.55 million

Total NYC+NY exposed                                                  3.31 million

Positive COVID-19 test results                                      250,000

What this means is of the 3.31 million people infected with COVID-19 in New York, only 250,000 (or 7.5%) either experienced illness or got tested due to exposure to the virus, leaving 92.5% OF COVID-19 INFECTIONS WITH NO SYMPTOMS OR MILD ILLNESS! 

That’s good, right?! Yes and no. We are excited to learn that the percentage of people who get any illness from the virus is much lower than we suspected. High penetration in a population helps prevent further large outbreaks, so the more who have immunity, the better. The flip side of this is that many more people are unknowingly spreading the virus since they don’t know they are infected. So what does that mean for us and what is the best way to prevent you from getting sick? Why do so many have such mild illness while it’s fatal to others? Knowing what your personal risk factors are is the key.

The CDC has recently updated its list of conditions with high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, some of which you have no control over:

  • over 65 years of age
  • nursing home
  • chronic lung disease and severe asthma
  • serious heart conditions
  • immunocompromised individuals (immune disease, chemo, etc.)
  • chronic kidney disease, especially dialysis patients

But there are risk factors that we do have some influence on:

  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • uncontrolled hypertension
  • obesity

What does this mean? Yes, it means get your rear in gear and get moving. Go walk your dog as long as it is 6 feet away from other groups, for now. Join an online exercise group, lots of which are offering free versions during stay at home. Since we are eating at home more than ever, take the time to find healthy recipes. Beware of  what we call the COVID munchies and limit your snacking. Monitor your blood sugars and blood pressure at home, and if they aren’t in the normal range, contact your primary care doctor so your treatment regimen can be changed. More than ever, this virus has emphasized the need for tighter control of one’s diabetes and hypertension. Not only will your overall health be improved by doing so, but you will greatly reduce your risk of serious harm from this and other viruses. 

We are all anxiously waiting for a vaccine preventing COVID-19, which is ultimately our best defense against this disease. Although we are likely at least a year away from its development, this has emphasized the need for vaccinations for viral respiratory illnesses. So while we can’t get a coronavirus shot, we CAN get a FLU SHOT. By getting your flu shot before the next flu season, you can help our medical community keep hospitalizations down this fall when/if coronavirus returns while you get the additional benefit of staying healthy.

Throughout this epidemic, our offices have remained open for emergency care, but we are preparing the office for full operations resuming soon. We know everyone is looking forward to life returning to normal, but remember, if you have any of the previously listed risk factors, you must remain vigilant in staying away from large gatherings. Our office has plans in place to provide a safe environment for you, details of which will be in upcoming blogs, and we are looking forward to seeing all of your faces around town soon. God’s blessings to you all!

Drs. Kevin and Joy Kissel, OD’s

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