Dr. Carri Jo Timmer is helping to answer some frequently asked questions.

The recommendations are changing every day. Has the virus changed? Is it getting scarier?

  • No. The virus remains the same. We know what we’re fighting. We continue to get to the know the virus well and the science front is moving forward at an amazing pace.

  • We still don’t have any medications to fight it, but we are being successful with a majority of patients using just supportive measures. 

  • The numbers will continue to rise – both in confirmed cases and deaths. Some of this is because testing is more readily available. Numbers can be reassuring and scary especially if you don’t know what they mean or if they’re from an unreliable source. Trust that those that are making the big decisions understand the numbers!

So why is the government shutting everything down?

  • We believe this virus has a long incubation period. That means you are contagious long before you start showing symptoms.

  • We believe that the virus can live on some surfaces for up to 9 days! So cleaning is hard to keep up with.

  • We know that most people have no symptoms or very mild symptoms and so those people don’t recognize they are sick soon enough. 

  • Kids are the main vectors of most illnesses. Since this virus seems to be very mild or without symptoms in kids, they can carry it from the schools to the parents/grandparents.

  • Isolation and complete lock down have been shown to stop the transmission of the virus. If we can stop the transmission, we can kill the virus. Isolation and time to warmer weather are our best defense right now.

Is that really necessary?

  • Yes. It is necessary for EVERYONE to slow down and isolate themselves, but ESPECIALLY those that are more vulnerable to serious disease (immunocompromised, pregnant, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease).

  • The concern right now is that as the number of sick people increase, the less healthcare resources we have. We have a limited number of ICU beds, masks, doctors, nurses, etc. And other “routine” healthcare issues still continue. If we don’t do our part to isolate ourselves, we will see the death toll increase as dramatically as it has in Italy.

  • Use your judgment on other small get togethers or visiting friends/family. Ensure surfaces are clean, no one is sick, hands are washed and you don’t touch your face. When you’re around others, keep the groups small enough that social distancing of 6ft can occur. And remember that children are vectors, people have mild symptoms that make it difficult to know that they are sick, the incubation period is long and thankfully we have social media, technology and delivery services that allow us to stay connected without being physically connected!

The news shows people in full hazmat suits and respirators. Why is that if this virus can only transfer from droplets to the face?

  • The supplies healthcare workers can get in increased amounts right now are those we use for respiratory spread illnesses (think TB, measles). Please stop buying and taking/using health masks. It is limiting our supply and putting our healthcare workers at greater risk

  • Healthcare workers are more susceptible to illness due to the large volume of patients they’re seeing a day with the virus.  We’re taking more care with them to make sure we don’t lose the workforce by them getting sick.

How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus during this time?

  • Reach out to those that are the most vulnerable and significantly isolating themselves. Can a young (less than 40), healthy adult go grocery shopping for them and drop the groceries at the door? 

  • Those that have to connect with people, who can you call to brighten their day?

  • There is never a time more precious to share the gospel when the world is filled with worry and fear. Who can you tell the story of Jesus to?

  • Don’t panic. Share only the truth. Share information that will be calming and not increase worry and fear.

  • Use this time to re-focus on that spiritual discipline you’ve been meaning to turn into a habit – prayer journal, fasting, quiet time daily, bible reading/studying.