Kimberly Parker: Not the time to become complacent
Masks or no masks. As cities and the state are opening up more and more, the controversy of wearing masks seems to be escalating. People’s reasons for wearing or not wearing masks are varied. Some don’t believe the seriousness of the virus is real, while others won’t go anywhere without a mask believing the threat is still very much out there. Many fall between those two extremes.
There is so much contradictory information out that it’s understandable why people are frustrated, have hit information overload, and don’t know what to believe. Health care workers and providers — those that are or will in the future be on the frontline if COVID-19 resurfaces will tell you that whatever can be done now to reduce the risk of contagion is worth it.
One fact is true. Last week Nevada County had reported 41 cases for about a month. Within the last couple of day and as of Wednesday, June 3, there are now 48 confirmed cases with western county holding steady at 12 cases, but a rise to 36 in the eastern county.
When in doubt, follow the sage advice of your community’s health care and first responder workforce. Hospital leadership, physicians, nurses, clinicians, community health care workers, the County’s Public Health Department and first responders continue to encourage people to wear masks in public. This is not the time to become complacent, to take off your mask because temperatures are rising and it becomes uncomfortable, or because no one around you seems to be wearing one.
The opening up of a community does not need to be all or nothing. It is in everyone’s best interest that we continue to take seriously the guidance we have heard for months. Our community will recover if we are smart about how we manage this transition.
Primary care physicians have been doing telemedicine visits, but more and more are opening up for patient visits. Dr. Jill Fitzpatrick, medical director of the Dignity Health Medical Group recently shared what precautions are being taken as we are creating protocols and opening offices. “All of the local doctor’s offices are following the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control as well as the California Department of Public Health,” she commented. “Staff are following strict cleaning guidelines including the sanitization of common areas many times a day. Exam rooms cleaned after every patient visit.”
For those going to appointments, local physicians want you to know that social distancing is occurring by staggering patient visits and the number of people allowed in at any given time. Symptom screenings and masking requirements for patients, visitors, vendors, nurses, and physicians are protocol at all buildings.
If you are unsure about going to your doctor’s office, the best thing to do is call to discuss what might be ideal for your particular situation. If you are nervous about being in a waiting room, ask the staff if they will accommodate your situation by allowing you to wait in your car until it is time for your appointment.
You can also do your part by preparing in advance for your appointment. Double check to make sure you have a cloth face covering and hand sanitizer. Having your health information, medications and allergies, written down ahead of time is also optimal. Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation has a free medication and allergy card that is small enough for your wallet. Please contact the office at 530-477-9700 or email us at infoSNMHF@dignityhealth.org (make sure to give us your mailing address), if you would like one.
Wishing you good health.
Kimberly Parker is executive director of the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation
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