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McLaren Flint doctor says wearing masks, taking precautions will curb COVID-19 increase

McLaren Flint’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention said the uptick in cases over the last few weeks indicates a third surge of COVID-19.
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:27 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/21/2020) - Genesee County is considered a hot spot for the coronavirus right now.

McLaren Flint’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention said the uptick in cases over the last few weeks indicates a third surge of COVID-19.

Dr. Dennis Cunningham explained the number of cases the County is experiencing right now is similar to the number the County saw at the beginning of the pandemic.

He expects it’ll continue to surge; but Dr. Cunningham said the community’s actions can curb it. We’re in control.

“We could slim this down in the next 7 to 10 days if people really wear the mask and are careful,” he said. “Otherwise, we’re probably going to be having this for the rest of the winter.”

As Medical Director of Infection Prevention for McLaren Flint’s Infectious Disease, Dr. Cunningham oversees the hospital’s policies and treatment guidelines.

He said McLaren’s staff remains well-equipped to handle this uptick in cases, but many people aren’t in need of being hospitalized right now. That’s because it’s mainly younger people being diagnosed with COVID-19 right now.

“So it’s a different group. There’s still cases in nursing homes but we’re not seeing as many of these patients require hospital admission or even a breathing tube,” Dr. Cunningham explained.

That’s one of the many reasons why he said the death rate is lower in Genesee County right now, too.

“We’ve gotten better at managing, we understand now better what to do with helping with breathing, we understand better the role of steroids to decrease inflammation with COVID, we also have some drugs like remdesivir,” Dr. Cunningham said.

While he understands younger people feel invincible and are taking advantage of looser restrictions, he wants them to think of others.

“I worry about them bringing the virus home to their parents, their grandparents and other people who are at higher risk,” he said.

Dr. Cunningham added besides washing your hands and wearing a mask, you should get a flu shot. Because the two illnesses have similar symptoms, he said it’ll be difficult to tell over these next few months which one you have.

Dr. Cunningham also said regardless if you’re sick or have any other health concerns, please don’t hesitate to go to the hospital.

He explained some people aren’t coming in for routine health care, because they’re worried about COVID-19. Dr. Cunningham wants the community to know the hospitals and doctor’s offices are clean and safe. And, not taking care of your health now can lead to issues down the road.

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