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Posted On: 29 May 2020 07:37 pm

HMC stresses importance of COVID-19 early testing for anyone with symptoms

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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Hamad Medical Corporation underscored the importance of early testing for people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dr. Ahmed Al Mohammed, Chairman of HMC's Department of Internal Medicine and Acting Chairman of HMC's Intensive Care Units (ICU) stressed the importance of individuals with COVID-19 symptoms getting tested. He says anyone who develops symptoms should immediately contact the Ministry of Public Health's dedicated hotline on 16000 or present at a COVID-19 testing center. He says the earlier the virus is detected, the easier it will be to manage and recover from it.

"Early testing is critical to slowing the spread of the virus, and it is also essential to ensuring we treat people while they are still in the early stages of illness and before their condition becomes more advanced and complicated. There is growing evidence that some individuals with symptoms are opting to stay home. This can be extremely dangerous. If a patient is developing pneumonia, it can get progressively worse very quickly. This is also true of patients who are older or have underlying medical conditions and may develop associated complications. With COVID-19, things can escalate very quickly, which is why we are stressing the importance of early testing," said Dr. Al Mohammed, who is also Acting Medical Director of Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital.

"We still don't fully understand why some people who get this virus will become very sick, while others experience almost no symptoms. Certain predictors can help us determine who is most at risk for severe illness, but we are all hearing the stories from across the world about young, healthy people who contract this virus and require mechanical ventilation and other forms of intensive treatment. Not all of these patients survive, particularly if they present late with advanced and severe disease," added Dr. Al Mohammed.

Dr. Al Mohammed says one of the most challenging aspects of the virus is that it is difficult to know how it will affect any individual person. He says while older and chronically ill people are more at risk for developing complications from COVID-19, there remains a lot that isn't known about the virus, underscoring the importance of early detection. He says a stay in the ICU can be a very traumatic experience, mentally and physically.

"If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you may have COVID-19 and should be tested right away. Chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, gastric problems, and loss of taste or smell could also be symptoms of COVID-19. We do not want to be alarmist, but we also do not want people to become complacent about infection prevention measures and social distancing, nor do we want them to delay getting tested and treated if they have symptoms. Like most diseases, getting diagnosed early can mean the difference between a quick recovery or severe illness that could require intensive care-level treatment," said Dr. Al Mohammed.

"We need people to understand the seriousness of this situation. If you develop symptoms that could be due to COVID-19, get tested, without delay," added Dr. Al Mohammed.

(Source: Qatar News Agency - QNA)