Medical Providers remind community
May 21, 2020
As we watch the COVID-19 pandemic on the global and local stage, we in Columbia County can be grateful that, so far, there has only been one confirmed COVID-19 case. It is hard to say whether our lack of COVID-19 cases is due to our quarantine efforts, or due to providence or “dumb luck”. In any case, our community has done a great job and should be congratulated. However, it’s not time to let down our guard and declare victory. Warmer weather may help, but the nasty little COVID-19 virus is still out there and is still contagious.
So, we would like to remind you of two points: First point: Our communities have a relatively high percentage of older people and others at risk for severe COVID-19 disease. As our social restrictions are gradually lifted, please continue good hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks when social distancing is not possible. Think of this as a way of showing love and concern for others. We know that some people have minimal or no symptoms of COVID-19, and yet may be contagious. By taking these precautions we are protecting the more vulnerable folks in our community as well as ourselves.
Second point: We note that mortality rates across the nation have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and not just due to COVID-19 cases. This rise in mortality also appears to be due to patients not obtaining health care for other problems in a timely manner. In some areas it may be that health care systems were overwhelmed, and so appropriate health care was simply not available. But in most areas, it appears that patients choose to postpone health care due to fears of COVID-19 exposure, or patients didn’t want to further burden health care providers. In our local Columbia County Health Care system, for example, we have noted fewer total ER visits, but an increase in the severity of those visits.
We want the community to know that our clinics and hospital are here for you. We are taking precautions to keep these health care centers safe, so we have procedures, signs and locked doors that were not there before. But do not think of these as barriers to YOU, our patients, but as barriers to the COVID-19 virus. While some “elective” and “screening” procedures may still have to wait a bit longer, our local clinics and hospital are open and are as safe as we can make them. Please do not hesitate to seek medical care.
This letter approved by: Dr. Kyle Terry; Dr. Andrew Park; Dr. Gwynn Neace; Dr. Lewis Neace; Dawn Meicher, ARNP; Jennifer Burnett, ARNP; Tammy Demean, ARNP; Kim Emery, PA-C