Message and Thank You from Guthrie County Hospital, Guthrie County Health Services and Adair & Guthrie County Emergency Management
During the uncertain times of this global crisis, the purpose of this message is to offer an update on the preparedness in Guthrie County and Thank You for your help, as we deal with the real and potential impacts of COVID-19.
We continue to hope for the best; however, we must prepare for the worst as there is a harsh reality of what may lie ahead. While our communities are not the size of New York City or New Orleans, we cannot rest on this fact. Our size offers us an advantage; we can pull together resources, although sometimes limited; we can act quicker and in a more cohesive manner.
The truth is the virus is relentless and cares not about the size of a community, organization, or age. COVID-19 is real, and it is here. It is vital for all residents of Guthrie County to adopt the mindset the virus is everywhere; precautions must be followed in every encounter and in every circumstance.
We cannot make residents of Guthrie County do anything; however, we can plead with you to do the right thing. Now is the time to take this seriously. You could be the next person infected. You can be asymptomatic and still spread the disease to other people. You might be able to survive the infection; however, a more vulnerable family member or friend may not be so fortunate. Is that a chance you are willing to take?
Guthrie County has tested several people with 1 positive result confirmed to date. This fact could likely elicit a false sense of security in our communities. The truth is, there are many people who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. However, because they do not meet the strict testing criteria, they must be assumed positive rather than confirmed. These people are instructed and encouraged to return home to self-isolate with specific instructions from our healthcare team.
As citizens of Guthrie County, everyone is being called upon to be personally responsible in the best interest of public safety and the health and well-being of others. You and your family should stay home or in your own yard whenever possible. Leaving the house should only be done when absolutely necessary (e.g., to go to the pharmacy or the doctor’s office). Social distancing is one of the only effective mechanisms we must employ toward the mitigation of this relentless virus. Social distancing means you should be no less than 6 feet apart from anyone outside of your family (those who live in your house). You should not be allowing congregation of anyone in yards, houses, or some other venue. If you must go to the grocery store because of dire need for some supply, only one person from the household should travel out. The bottom line: stay home as much as possible. You do not have to have an underlying health condition to die from the virus.
Each citizen in Guthrie County can change the trajectory of how COVID-19 impacts us. All residents can join in the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, covering coughs and sneezes, handwashing and staying home when sick. It is important for Iowans to prepare for COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine.
You can protect yourself and your family by following four simple rules:
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Wear a facemask:
- If you are sick:
- You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
- Learn what to do if you are sick at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
- If you are NOT sick:
- You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
- If you are sick:
- Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
On a brighter note, we continue to prepare daily. We are working with local community partners with whom we have contact around the clock. We have surge plans to help guide the care of patients in volumes we normally would not experience. The teamwork and collaboration we continue to see daily as we prepare is awe inspiring and something of which all Guthrie County residents should proud.
We are continually monitoring the supply of our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed as we plan for the worst and hope for the best. We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and outpouring of support from the communities of Guthrie County. Your donations of homemade masks and other items continues to assist us keeping our healthcare workers and first responders safe in order to assure care for the patients we serve.
For more information about the novel coronavirus, visit www.adairguthriecountycovid.org. This site will be updated daily with the most recent press releases, recommendations, screening questions if you are sick, as well as links to other reliable resources to help answer your questions.