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Note from the Harrison County Director of Medicine

Dear Harrison County Residents:

As a local physician, medical director and primary care provider I have been asked to share my thoughts on the pandemic coronavirus known as COVID-19:

-We have known COVID-19 in our county and known exposure to community members, the extent of which we cannot say, and our knowledge of how it is spread is changing daily.

-We have very few tests and very strict testing criteria, so if we have significant community spread it would be almost impossible to detect.  Widespread testing is at least 2-4 weeks away with our current estimates.  We have to isolate our families to prevent spread of the disease until we can accurately detect the virus in our community.  We know from the outbreak in Italy that we have to isolate now to prevent a severe outbreak and a large number of deaths over the next two weeks.  Especially deaths in those over the age of 60.

-Most recently we think patients under 19 years of age have predominantly mild cold symptoms or no symptoms at all but can still carry and possibly shed the virus to at-risk populations.

-Letting kids congregate for sports or play could pass the virus, it is very likely that some of our children have the virus now and are spreading it symptom free.

-Until we can test more patients we all need to assume that everyone has the virus and keep 6 feet apart when in public, practice good hand hygiene, cover our coughs and limit groups of people to only those are critical to meet together in person.

-Whenever possible avoid unnecessary visits with adults over 60 and any individuals with heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. Examples would include not visiting the elderly during time off of school. Instead send an email, call or text them.  Sending physical mail to them may not be advised as this virus is known to live on surfaces for a few days, the exact number is being studied.

-We are blessed with a very healthy community, lets work hard to keep it that way.  We have an estimated 3,000 people in Harrison county over 65, lets keep them safe and out of hospitals.

-If you are worried you have COVID-19 symptoms, call your primary care provider (or see below for virtual care) and discuss what to do before coming to the clinic to prevent further spread.

-CHI is working to help our community navigate COVID-19 with information and virtual care: https://www.chihealth.com/coronavirus

-Keep kids home, work on sleeping and eating well as a family to keep immunities high and stay informed on community spread of the virus by checking the Iowa Department of Public Health's website: https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus

 

Wishing you all the best of health,

 

Nathaniel Alvis D.O.

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