March 20, 2020

Mayo Clinic COVID-19 update: testing expands, patients connect, doctors advise on symptoms

By Susan Murphy

By Mayo Clinic News Network

Mayo Clinic Laboratories significantly expands testing capability for the COVID-19 virus

 Mayo Clinic has significantly expanded its capacity to test clinical samples for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. With new equipment that went online Tuesday, Mayo Clinic Laboratories now has the capacity to process COVID-19 test samples from all Mayo Clinic sites. In addition, it has begun processing test samples from its clients across Minnesota, including eight major health systems.

"The capability to test and process clinical samples for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is urgently needed nationwide and we have been working around the clock to make this expansion happen as quickly as possible," says William Morice, II, M.D., Ph.D., president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories and chair of Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. "Our expanded capacity will expedite caring for patients at this critical time, and hopefully will ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in Minnesota and a growing number of geographies." Read more.

Q&A: Length of time COVID-19 can live outside an organism varies considerably

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have read that COVID-19 spreads from person to person, but can it also live on objects? Should I be concerned about catching the virus from things I buy at the grocery store or while filling up my car with gas?

ANSWER: Your highest risk of catching COVID-19 is being exposed to a person ill with COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that leads to symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. The virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets generated when someone infected coughs or sneezes. If you breathe in the droplets, or they land on your eyes, nose or mouth, you are at risk of infection. Read more.

COVID-19: Symptoms that require emergency care

Growing concerns over COVID-19 have health care organizations worldwide making vast changes ― from postponing procedures to visitation restrictions. Consumers are being asked to limit emergency room visits.

But every day, people have medical emergencies that may require urgent intervention.

"You should not go to the emergency room for every sniffle or cold, but there are things that warrant medical attention and should not be ignored," says Dr. David A. Miller, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

While people with preexisting conditions are at a higher risk to develop more severe consequence to COVID-19, which may include shortness of breath, it's also important to recognize respiratory issues may be a sign of a heart attack, too. "If you experience symptoms consistent with a heart attack or stroke, it's important not to ignore them. There are treatments for heart attack and strokes that are effective if they are initiated in a short time after the symptoms start." Read more.

Connecting Patients: Talking about COVID-19

Stay connected virtually for your health on #MayoClinicConnect

It’s time to come together, virtually, to talk about anything that’s affecting you related to COVID-19, with a brand new Connect group, simply called COVID-19. This is a space to talk about topics such as: 

  • Closings in your community and how it affects you.
  • What you are doing to cope.
  • Whether keeping up your book club or running group makes sense.
  • How you can pass the time.
  • Housekeeping and disinfecting your home.
  • How to deal with your own or your children’s fears. 
  • Being helpful to others in a challenging time. 

It’s also a space to congregate and be socially active. You can:

  • Join the virtual walking group.
  • Tour virtual museums together.
  • Share art, music and books.
  • Find daily escapes and inspirations.

Read more.

Learn more

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional updates on COVID-19. For all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Join the conversation

For more information on the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, visit FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter at @MayoClinicCIM

Tags: covid-19, Research, Uncategorized

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