May 14, 2020
By Shane McGuire
CEO Dayton Hospital District
As the state and individual counties move towards a phased return to normalizing business and social activities, we felt it important to share a few thoughts and encouragements. Our communities have done a terrific job of keeping the COVID-19 Virus from becoming active here, and we should all be commended for keeping each other healthy.
It is important to understand that we still do not have an immunity to this virus, there is currently no vaccine, and that will keep our population vulnerable to it. As the State officials ease restrictions, you are still going to want to take precautions like washing your hands and wearing some form of face covering to prevent transmission of the virus. Remember, most cloth masks are meant to protect others from "you" and do not necessarily protect "you" from others. Masks known as N95's do offer protection for the wearer so if you are using a cloth mask, or procedure (surgical) mask, then you will want to maintain some social distancing.
The Health System is here and available for you. We continue to hear concerns from people about coming into the hospital or clinics for care that did not exist prior to COVID-19. We have also heard that people think that we are too busy with the virus to see patients, or that they feel it is risky to be the facility. Our Emergency department visits for last month are down 18% from the first three months of the year and 28% from last year's average, and we know that the effects of the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" orders started in the middle of March. Our clinic visits are down 57% as well so we know that people have been missing out on needed care especially in our community where 27% of the population is over 65 and with 85% of those living with at least one chronic condition. The percentage of people living with two chronic conditions is 56% and number living with three or more is 23%. Chronic illness does not pause for the coronavirus and it is important to manage your care even during this state of emergency.
So as the State and County's move towards a reduction of the stay at home orders, we ask that you continue to be aware of social distancing and good handwashing. We also encourage you to seek medical treatment if you feel you need it. Our emergency room, clinics, and other outpatient care settings are here for you.