News 8 On Call – Answering your questions about coronavirus


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – You posted questions on the News 8 Facebook about coronavirus and Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer with Hartford HealthCare, answered them.

Chuck asks “how can avoiding crowds save lives?

“What we are trying to do is to reduce the droplet infection that somebody sneezes or coughs who is a potential Covid-19 carrier or a patient can spread to a large number of people,” said Kumar.

Andrea wants to know “are gyms safe?

“Gyms are the place where you could possibly have fomite or the germs which could be transmitted from the equipment people are using. I would advise that people should use the gym with a lot of caution. Clean the surface often or before, and inquire at the gym what kind of cleaning practices they have.”

From Kathleen, “if you get coronavirus, are you immune from getting it again?

“We don’t know that yet because it’s so new in our system at the moment. We don’t know how our immunity will react at that, so at this time, it’s very early to comment on that.”

Jess asks, “what is the treatment for someone who tests positive?

“It depends actually. If you test positive you can be very asymptomatic and all you need is plenty of fluid and acetaminophen and ibuprofen and get some rest. At the other spectrum, you could be very sick and require intensive care and a hospital visit, hospital care. And at that time it’s generally supportive provided because lungs react differently, you get short of breath, and your oxygen capacity to be able to get to the blood gets reduced and so supplemented oxygen, provide fluids and make sure the individual is supported.”

Derek sent this in, “do people with asthma have a greater chance of getting coronavirus?”

“If you are taking steroids for asthma, you are taking prednisone or medication like that, you could be at a higher risk because of immune suppression. You may have some sort of reduce immunity. But if you’re taking inhalers and you have a well-controlled asthma, you are not any more increased risk than anyone else.”

From Ruth – “should we not be traveling to other states?”

“If you have non-essential travel, I would avoid it at this time. If you have essential travel, defined by your personal needs, you take all the precautions you can at the moment.”

LC asks – “are you at higher risk if you’re pregnant?”

“Pregnancy is not considered high risk at this time. However, I would be cautious as to how you are traveling and where you are going. Pregnancy comes in all different shapes and forms and individuals have different challenges, I would highly advise that pregnant individuals should communicate with their primary care physician and their ob-gyn’s at this time as well.”

When it comes to testing, Dr. Kumar admits that it has been somewhat confusing and challenging but says they are working closely with state officials and other labs to streamline that process.

Hartford HealthCare’s drive through testing ‘pilot’ program is not yet open to the public — that could happen though next week.

WEB EXTRA: Hartford HealthCare doctor answers your coronavirus questions

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