You have heard in the past that we need to “flatten the curve” to ensure the healthcare system maintains the capacity to care for those who need our services. The current increase in positive COVID-19 cases and, more directly, the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, is a cause for concern as many hospitals all over the state are quickly reaching their capacity due to available beds and/or staffing concerns.
With the holidays approaching, I wanted to share a few thoughts. We need your assistance, and here is how you can help.
• Follow the instructions given by your providers, nurses and local health departments. It is vital that we all do our part. We understand that masks, quarantine and isolation guidelines are altering all our lives, but to lower the rate of transmission, we need to adhere to these simple strategies.
• Monitor your health for any signs and symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms can be very mild and can present like common illnesses or allergies. If you have any of the following, please take notice and isolate yourself from others until you can definitively determine if you have COVID–19: fever or chills, cough, shortness of air, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose, or a new loss of taste or smell.
• Call your healthcare providers; we are here to assist you. We also have virtual visit options available for your convenience.
• Get tested. Our goal is identifying who has the virus and mitigate the risk for yourself and others. It helps us understand the scale of the outbreaks, and it also guides your health–care workers in giving proper care.
• Reduce the number of holiday gatherings and the number who attend. According to the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool created at the Georgia Institute of Technology, covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu, if a family group of 25 gets together in Nodaway County the risk level for one or more individuals infected with COVID–19 is 84 percent.
Be kind! We all are tired – tired of COVID–19, tired of the chaos all around us and tired of the loss of normalcy. We all need to be compassionate, understanding and work together to overcome. Our healthcare workers need your support. They are fighting this battle on the frontline each and every day. They get it, but they also see firsthand the impact COVID–19 can have on the most vulnerable. Make no mistake, it can be deadly. Please extend grace to those in the fight.
To borrow a quote from Kelly Cawcutt, MD, an assistant professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, “COVID-19 is not the gift we want to give at the holidays.”