Dr. Bunio addresses direct contact, gatherings, and travel

by Jul 29, 2020Health, NEWS ka-no-he-da




The Cherokee One Feather presented Dr. Richard A. Bunio, Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority executive clinical director, with several questions surrounding COVID-19 precautions.  Following are the questions and his responses.

Is any gathering safe at the moment?  If so, what size restrictions would you recommend?  Also, what precautions should be taken at the gathering?

All gathering with people who are not a part of your immediate household contain some risk. The larger the gathering the greater the risk that one person in that gathering will be contagious even if they feel perfect well.

North Carolina DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) recommends a 10-person limit and everyone should follow the three W’s. Outdoor gatherings are less risky than indoor ones because of air circulation but the 3 W’s are still recommended.


What exactly is meant by a direct contact?

Direct contact is being within six feet of a known COVID positive person for 15 minutes or more. Wearing masks decreases this risk. It is possible to catch the virus if you are near someone for less than 15 minutes particularly if that person is coughing or sneezing.


Following testing, is it still advised to isolate until you receive your results?

If you have been tested because you are a direct contact or you are feeling ill, isolation is recommended.


What are the quarantine guidelines for someone who has tested positive? For someone who is deemed a “direct contact”?

An otherwise healthy person who is COVIID positive should self-isolate for 10 days. A direct contact of a COVID positive person needs to quarantine for 14 days and be tested when recommended by public health authorities.


Does the EBCI Joint Information Center suggest that it is safe to travel away from Cherokee for vacation at this time?

Travel is risky, particularly if traveling to places with high COVID activity. There are safer ways to travel if you have to: in a personal vehicle, avoiding public transportation, avoiding large gatherings and following the three W’s.