Beaumont doctor recovering from COVID-19 hopes people ‘take this pandemic seriously’

After one month of self-quarantine, the physician returns to work

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – A Beaumont doctor treating the most critical COVID-19 patients ended up getting the virus himself.

Critical care physician Dr. Sanjay Dogra first tested negative for the virus -- but, when his COVID-19 symptoms persisted, he got another test.

It was positive.

After one month of quarantining at home, Dr. Dogra is back to work on the frontlines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at Beaumont Royal Oak.

May 10, 2020: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 47,138; Death toll now at 4,551

Before his quarantine, Dogra says patients sick with COVID-19 were coming into the hospital “like a tsunami." As a critical care physician his patients were on ventilators, clinging to their lives.

Dogra says he contracted the virus during the initial surge of cases, even though health care workers were taking precautions.

The doctor immediately isolated at home with his wife, who is also a doctor, and their two kids who were home from college. Dogra says the family took precautions by wearing masks and washing their hands every two hours. His wife did end up contracting the virus too, but has since recovered.

The physician says the virus wreaked havoc on his body, producing the “worst chills” of his life with a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly he recovered and is starting to see patients again.

Dogra says he was feeling weak getting back to work, unable to walk more than a few hundred feet before feeling short of breath. He is starting to feel stronger as he cares for patients in critical condition at the hospital.

The number of COVID-19 patients in his care has started to drop as cases are beginning to increase at a slower rate around the state.

Dogra says he hopes people continue to take this pandemic seriously.

Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. Michigan.gov has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.

More information on coronavirus (COVID-19):

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

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