A Letter from Dr. Sabrina Dunlap – COVID-19 & Social Distancing
On March 12th, Governor Evers declared a state of public health emergency, which allowed him to mandate the closure of schools no later than Wednesday, March 18th. New recommendations state that over the next 15 days Americans should avoid gathering in groups of ten or more, travel and social visits should be avoided.
The reason this decision was made, is to help try to SLOW the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus is a contagious respiratory virus similar, but more deadly than the common cold. It is spreading rapidly and is likely to arrive in northern Wisconsin soon.
Closing school helps to decrease the number of contacts between people. This is called social distancing. It is very important, so that not everyone gets sick at the same time and we are able to protect the people most likely to get very ill or die.
If you are young and healthy you are not likely to get very sick from the virus; however, you can give it to others who may get much sicker. Do you know anyone who is over the age of 65? What about individuals with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma or who smokes? They are at much higher risk of getting very sick.
Experience has shown that people can be infected and pass on the virus without having symptoms themselves.
You can help!
• Practice social distancing. Stay at home or in one place. Do not go to parties or places where groups gather. Hang out with family, one or two friends, but limit the size of the group of people you are exposed to.
• Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer.
• If you cough, cough into your elbow.
• Stay home if you are sick
• Be aware of your health and the health of those around you. Fever, cough or shortness of breath should prompt a call to your healthcare provider
• If someone you know may be at a high risk for getting sick, keep in touch with them by phone
• Learn or teach your family members how to use skype or facetime.
• Can you offer help to someone who needs to isolated and can’t get to the store?
No cost screening available
Our community is working closely together in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Essentia Health is offering free screenings, online or by calling their toll free number if any of the following is true:
• You begin to experience respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
• You have had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or is under investigation for COVID-19, or is ill with respiratory illness.
• You have traveled internationally or been to an affected area in the United States where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.
In order to protect our community and prevent spread it is important that individuals who believe they may have been infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) use the following process to direct your care. If you are experiencing a medical emergency call 911.
Regardless of where you seek your medical care, Essentia Health is providing free screenings via their toll free phone number 1-833-494-0836 or by E-visits to anyone experiencing symptoms. E-visits via MyHealth, provide 24/7 access to connect to an Essentia Health Care Team without requiring you to leave home.
You may also call your provider if you are concerned about COVID-19 symptoms:
• Essentia Health (715) 634-5505
• NorthLakes Community Clinic (715) 634-2541
• Marshfield Clinic – Hayward (715) 634-6520
• LCO Clinic (715) 638-5100
Physicians and advanced practice providers make the decision to test patients for COVID-19 in consultation with local health departments.
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, dial 211 to speak to a community resource specialist.
For a list of resources you can also visit www.haywardmemorialhospital.com or www.sawyercountygov.org/475/PublicHealth
The following all maintain excellent and real-time information to monitor the situation and answer questions: