Submittedby Dr. Elaine Moore MD
St. George Medical Clinic
First, we must continue to be vigilant in our physical distancing and protecting each other. Keep that 6’ minimum between yourself and other people. For the benefit of others, cough, and sneeze into your elbow. We now know that many people infected with the virus show no symptoms and infected persons can shed the virus for many days after their symptoms are gone. So, the best practice is to assume that everyone you come into contact within public areas has the virus. This protects them and you.
Second, when in a public setting always wear a cloth mask. The CDC position is that N-95 masks need to be reserved for health care personnel, but cloth masks are easily made and do help limit the spread of disease. We have many skilled seamstresses in Tucker County. Everyone should be able to get a cloth mask or make one from something they already have at home. Wearing a mask is important when going to the grocery, pharmacy, food pick up and other essential outings. The CDC recommends washing your mask every day with soap and water. Drying it at temperatures over 160 degrees for 20 minutes is an alternative. If the virus is on your cloth mask, it can stay there for 7 days if you do not wash it.
Third, wash those hands! Remember to dampen yours hands with water and then lather the soap for 20 seconds being sure to get the back side of your hands, your thumbs, and your fingernails. Soap and water are better than hand sanitizer. Anecdotally, people who hit that hand sanitizer also do not take the time to allow it to stay on their hands for the full 20 seconds and they only rub it on their palms. While we talk about handwashing, do not forget to use a 10% bleach solution or another disinfectant wipe to wipe down surfaces that could have been contaminated by the virus. This must be done in areas of essential services like grocery stores.
Fourth, Tucker county has done a great job with physical distancing but our seniors with heart and lung disease make us high risk for complications of the disease. We need to continue to pay close attention to keeping our curve as flat as possible.
Fifth, the stress of this pandemic has caused an increase in domestic violence across the world. Be kind to each other. Call to talk with your neighbor to make sure they are doing okay. Most parents have a whole new appreciation for teachers after trying to do lessons at home with their children. There is more depression and more suicide causally related to Covid-19. If you think you know someone who is depressed or if you are depressed, you can talk with any of our providers. A telephone visit with your health care provider may make a big difference in how you look at the situation you are in. At St. George, we also have a staff that includes a psychologist, a nurse practitioner who is dedicated to psychiatry and a social worker. During the Covid-19 Crisis, there are no co-pays or deductible payments for the telephone visits. If you have a smart phone, we can also conduct facetime visits.
Sixth, great job to everyone in limiting the spread of disease with physical distancing and good hygiene. A special thanks to our first responders, healthcare providers and other essential businesses doing the best they can to provide us with basic needs and helping to protect us by wearing masks and using proper hand hygiene. Kudos to all the officials working behind the scenes to acquire supplies and track contacts of people who have the disease. If we continue to work together, we will get through this with less harm.