14 March 2020 – COVID-19 Update

I’m a rural family physician in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. I work at the Raymond Medical Clinic and the Raymond Health Centre.

Public AHS info on CORVO-19 is available at: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx.

On-line screening here:

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx

How many cases in Alberta:

Ten new cases in Alberta; two are in ICU; total 39. Most are still travel related; there’s possibly two that are “community acquired.” That’s the tipping point.

How many south of Calgary (i.e., South Zone)?

0 as of 23:45, 14 March 2020.

How many in Raymond?

0 as of 23:45, 14 March 2020.

Can you get COVID-19 more than once?

In some cases, apparently, yes. We don’t know a lot yet, but this isn’t a good sign:

https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/484942-japan-confirms-first-case-of-person-reinfected?fbclid=IwAR3xPnnHzxvakP3cSJOaMofOwZeTL7RMeIWHIRmikjT_CyPFY7yLEPDL5dI

Why this matters

Here’s an account from Spain:

It unfortunately matches what we’ve already seen in Italy.

Here’s the Canadian data. Look at the curve:

https://www.macleans.ca/society/health/this-coronavirus-chart-shows-canada-is-not-flattening-the-curve-at-least-not-yet/?fbclid=IwAR3Hs0HiTKeDk3Rgh-_gUKKoEW1IpLawTORvcN9rjPkL0TpFmmZuIrSnKnI

Things started in BC and Ontario. Look at their numbers. That’s Alberta in a few days to a week or two.

Thoughts

1. Please self-isolate.

2. People are not taking self-isolation with the seriousness and strictness it needs.

This means no play-dates, no get-togethers, no “dropping things off” for your friends/neighbours. Limit shopping to the necessary, and minimize the number of people who go out.

3. Hand wash and hygiene.

4. Alberta has yet to close schools; I disagree with the govt’s read on that data. I think the evidence favours closing them sooner rather than later. The worry that “kids will just congregate elsewhere” seems to me to be the point we should focus on, not just throw our hands up and say “well people will just do dumber things.” At least those who listen won’t be in school.

The data is mixed; that’s another way of saying that no one really knows. School closure will probably increase costs. But I don’t think that just judging on the basis of dollars and cents gives the best answer:

So, my kids will be out of school. But it’s a difficult decision with potential costs both ways. When this is all over, I’ll be happy to say I was wrong if I was.

That’s one comfort, I guess–we’re about to learn an awful lot about pandemics. This will be studied for decades, I suspect. But that’s not much use to us right now.