Coronavirus: What You Need To Know

This article was published on January 31, 2020. 
For the most up-to-date information from TMC/UH regarding COVID-19, please click here.

As public health officials around the world raise awareness regarding the new coronavirus, we wanted to talk to one of our own doctors regarding what we need to know here in Kansas City.

            We sat down earlier this week with Kevin O’Rourke, MD, the Clinical Director of our Health Sciences District Emergency Department.

            Dr. O’Rourke says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has notified all hospitals to screen each patient by asking them the following two questions:

  • Have you traveled outside the country in the past 21 days?
  • Have you had contact with a sick person who has traveled outside the country in the past 21 days?

Providers will ask these questions to every patient, even if it’s during a routine clinic visit, like the dermatologist.  This will help them determine your risk of contracting the coronavirus.

While we have heard in the news about the possible case of coronavirus in Lawrence, Kansas, Dr. O’Rourke says there are no cases in the Kansas City metro area.

The symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to the flu (they are both respiratory viruses) – fever, cough, shortness of breath – are just a few.

So what if you’re concerned you might have the virus?  “Unless you’re severely ill, try to stay home and treat the symptoms yourself.  Take ibuprofen or Tylenol for fever and body aches.  Or you can take steam baths in the shower to help alleviate your cough,” Dr. O’Rourke says.  Call your doctor’s office if your symptoms get worse.  Get emergency care if you are having trouble breathing.

Dr. O’Rourke says here in America, we’re at a greater risk for getting the flu.  Which is a great reminder that it’s never too late in the season to get a flu shot.


Need a flu shot?  Call 816-404-CARE (2273) to schedule an appointment.

For more articles from Vital KC, our patient e-newsletter, click here.

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