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Medical expert on coronavirus in TN: 'If you develop symptoms, don’t go to the doctor.'

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 21:14:24-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With the first case of COVID-19, the new coronavirus, confirmed in Middle Tennessee, medical experts have said it's not a time to panic, but rather a time to prepare.

“The investigation is going by the book," said Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University. Schaffner said he would be handling it the same way.

The man in Williamson County felt sick, and instead of going to a doctors office or hospital and possibly infecting others, he called his doctor, was quarantined at home, and limited the amount of exposure he could have had, which is what many people have been told to do.

“Many people now who have traveled internationally have been given instructions while they’re on the plane: Should you become sick, here’s what you aught to do. This is the most responsible thing to do," Schaffner said. "My understanding is that this particular person hasn’t had all that much contact with other people in the state, so see my crossed fingers? I hope that there’s not spread to anyone else and we can contain the problem. We can contain the infection.”

Coronavirus cases are hard to pinpoint in the first place according to Schaffner, because along with coronavirus slowly spreading, the flu is in full swing.

“If I had a patient with flu and a patient with coronavirus in front of me, I could not tell the difference," Schaffner said.

Regardless, Schaffner said he believes that this is not a time to panic, instead, it's a time to prepare. Talk with your family in case this becomes more widespread, and come up with a plan on how you would handle it.

If you get sick yourself, Schaffner said you can use the Williamson County case as a good example of what to do.

“If you develop symptoms, don’t go to the doctor and infect everybody else in the waiting room," he explained. "Call them up and they’ll tell you what to do, and in the meantime, kind of remove yourself from family and work. Stay at home.”

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