COVID-19, Primary Care, and Infectious Disease Physicians in NC
By Julie Spero, Heather Wilson, Evan Galloway
Mar 5, 2020
- The first cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been documented in NC. The spread has sparked concerns about public health infrastructure. Adults aged 65 and older are especially vulnerable to coronaviruses and the subsequent respiratory infections they can cause.
- During an epidemic like this one, primary care is the entry point to testing and to referral if more intensive and specialized care is necessary.
- In North Carolina, primary care clinicians are unevenly distributed, with access worsening in rural areas. The populations of rural communities are older than those in urban areas.
- Infectious disease (ID) physicians will also play a role in managing NC’s response to COVID-19. ID physicians diagnose and treat infectious diseases, consult with other physicians, and develop prevention strategies to reduce transmission.
- In 2018, 211 NC physicians reported that infectious disease was their primary area of practice. Many are associated with academic health centers and may do research or work in public health in addition to seeing patients.
- For more information on the epidemic in NC, please see the NC’s Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website.
Physicians with a Primary Area of Practice of Infectious Disease, North Carolina, 2018
Notes: Data include active, licensed physicians in practice in North Carolina as of October 31, 2018 who are not residents-in-training and are not employed by the Federal government. Physician data are derived from the North Carolina Medical Board. Map depicts self-reported physician primary practice location.