“You may be hearing a lot of different information about the severity of the coronavirus in different countries. The fact is that the experience has been different. Some countries have done a great job of slowing the spread of coronavirus (such as Singapore) and other countries have not been as effective (such as Italy, China and Iran),” explains Dr. Kelly McGrath, Chief Medical Officer, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics. “As a community, we can learn from the experience of these countries. If we are effective as a whole community in slowing the spread of coronavirus locally, we can help protect our most vulnerable citizens. At this point, slowing the spread of coronavirus is probably the single most important thing that we can all do as members of our community. If we can effectively slow the virus down, it is unlikely that our local health care system will be overwhelmed.”
St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics have set up an incident command team who are actively working on education and helping to slow the spread of this virus. “Ways that each of us can help to slow the spread of the coronavirus down include careful handwashing (soap and water for 20 seconds), use of hand sanitizers, covering your cough and sneezes, as well as deferring physical contact in public such as not shaking hands,” says McGrath.
“Another way that we can make a difference to protect our community is to stay home if we are even mildly ill. Remember that 80% of people with coronavirus will have only mild symptoms but they can, in turn, infect those who are more vulnerable, who may not fare so well. Also, if you have the ability to work from home, you should consider doing so.”
“Public health officials tell us that one of the key ways that we can make a difference for our community is to cancel or postpone any nonessential public gatherings or activities. Even routine things like going to the gym, out to eat or attending social gatherings can have an impact. The more we can stay at home, the safer our community will be,” continues McGrath. “Also, do not visit patients or residents in the hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility unless absolutely necessary. Most of these facilities will have restrictions at the door that will mandate screening before you can enter. Please understand that this is to protect your friends and loved ones within the facility. If you have friends or relatives with medical conditions that placed them at high risk (COPD/emphysema, diabetes, heart disease or immune suppression), or are elderly (age greater than 60) please do not visit them unless necessary. You can show them your support and love in this time by calling them on the phone, video conferencing or texting them.”
Dr. McGrath also states that, “our clinics, emergency departments and hospitals will continue to work to make a healthy difference in your lives and our community. We can do this best if you stay home with mild symptoms and don’t overwhelm the emergency department.”
“If we can work together as a community, we can have a meaningful impact on slowing the coronavirus down locally and protecting each other to stay safe. We appreciate your support and help in these efforts. Please check our Facebook page (St. Mary’s & Clearwater Valley Hospitals & Clinics) and website (smh-cvh.org) for daily updates and information as we adapt to this rapidly evolving situation,” says McGrath.