Over the past few weeks, we’ve experienced a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases in our area. While it’s true that most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms, that’s not the case for everyone.
As the virus continues to rapidly spread, more and more patients are requiring hospitalization to manage their symptoms. While there are still hospital beds available in the state, the rate of increase is concerning.
“I want everyone in our region to understand COVID-19 is real, and it’s dangerous,” said Will Melahn, MD, St. Claire HealthCare’s Chief Medical Officer. “Now more than ever, it’s critical for everyone in our community to take action. If you haven’t already changed your behavior to protect yourself, your family, and frontline workers from this virus, do it now.”
The healthcare heroes at St. Claire HealthCare are asking you to be their hero by taking simple actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Wear a Mask – “Treat mask-wearing like your life depends on it … because it does,” says Thadis C. Cox, MD, Gastroenterologist and SCH Medical Director, Specialty Services. Wear a mask anytime you are in public settings and make sure you are wearing it properly, securely covering your nose and mouth at all times.
Wash Your Hands – Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a simple, yet effective way to prevent the spread of illness. Courtney Hollingsworth, MSN, RN, SCH Associate Chief of Nursing, recommends keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket. “Use your sanitizer often, especially after touching doorknobs, grocery carts, elevator buttons, and other shared surfaces,” she advises.
Social Distance and Avoid Large Crowds – It's not easy being separated from friends and family, especially during the holiday season, but avoiding crowds and social distancing will make a big difference. “Although social distancing is not always easy, I believe it is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Carolyn Moore, MD, Family Practice Physician.
Get a Flu Shot – If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet, get vaccinated now. “While we’re fighting COVID-19, it’s critical that we keep the seasonal flu under control in our community,” said Amanda Ramey, DO, Family Medicine Physician and SCH’s Medical Director for Primary Care. “Getting your flu vaccine will help reduce the burden on already strained healthcare systems.”
Don’t Delay Medical Care – Whether you are managing a chronic illness, or experiencing symptoms of a medical emergency, don’t delay your medical care. “Postponing care can have serious, even fatal consequences,” said Phillip Overall, MD, Emergency Physician and Medical Director for Pandemic Response. “Our hospitals and clinics are safe and our healthcare providers are ready and waiting to provide the care you need when you need us.”
There’s no way to know how severely this virus will affect you or the ones you love, so don’t take any unnecessary chances.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, get tested. St. Claire HealthCare offers COVID-19 testing just outside the St. Claire Medical Pavilion Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 7 AM – 2 PM and Wednesday from Noon – 7 PM.
Note: The drive-thru testing site will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
“Please take this virus seriously,” Melahn added. “If you test positive, we need you to stay home and self-isolate unless you need medical care for your symptoms.”
If your symptoms are mild to moderate, St. Claire HealthCare recommends a virtual appointment with one of its primary care physicians.
To request an appointment, call 606.784.6641 or visit http://www.st-claire.org/appointment
Existing patients can simply self-schedule with their primary care provider using St. Claire’s MyHealth Patient Portal. Virtual curbside clinic appointments are also available.
If you are experiencing more serious symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department so your treatment can be started as soon as possible.
“On behalf of everyone at St. Claire, I’m asking you to be our hero,” Melahn said. “If everyone will commit to following these simple recommendations, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in our region.”
(provided by St. Claire HealthCare)