March 13, 2020
As you know by now, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
A pandemic is a new virus that has developed the ability to both infect humans and make them sick as well as spread easily from person to person. Past pandemics have been with an influenza virus, but this is NOT a flu virus which means:
1. All Allen County residents are vulnerable to this infection which has a mortality rate 23 times H1N1
2. Because there is no herd immunity, when it comes to Allen County large numbers of people will become sick at the same time.
3. No treatment
4. No vaccine
5. Extremely limited testing as of today
Keep our hospitals staffed and equipped to take care of ill people – regardless if COVID related or a heart attack or trauma. If everyone gets sick at once our hospitals will be overwhelmed not only because of space but because healthcare workers live among you and when a lot you get sick – they will get sick and then can’t work. The graph below highlight how we can impact the surge and preserve our hospitals:
To accomplish this we must do the following:
1. To avoid breaking down our healthcare systems, we need to slow or stagger the transmission of the virus thru Allen County.
a. LIMIT ALL UNECESSARY PERSON TO PERSON CONTACT FOR MORE THAN 5 MINUTES.
b. USE TAKEOUT, DRIVETHRU AND PACKAGE DELIVERY WHENVER POSSIBLE
c. AT SOME POINT MORE AGGRESSIVE MEASURES MAY NEED TO BE TAKEN – WHEN YOU FEEL INCONVENIENCED REMEMBER THE FACTS ABOUT THIS VIRUS.
2. Utilize tried and true routine infection control measures including:
a. Wash your hands frequently
b. Cover your cough or sneeze
c. Don’t go to work or school with a fever
d. Avoid unnecessary travel
e. Get every vaccine recommended for you
For residents who have a cough and fever over 100 degrees, call your family doctor and follow their instructions. Please understand that routine testing is not available, testing is limited to those sick patient in whom we need to know if they have COVID and will need experimental drugs.
On March 12th Governor Holcomb announced his recommendations for Hoosiers:
- Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people. This includes any event or gathering of people who are in one room or a single space at the same time, such as cafeterias, churches, stadiums, meeting and conference rooms, auditoriums and the like. This guidance applies to professional, social, community and similar other gatherings. Detailed guidance will be posted on the Indiana State Department of Health website by the end of the day.
- Effective immediately, school corporations will be provided with a 20-day waiver of the required 180 instructional days for use as needed for the remainder of the academic year. The waived days do not need to be used consecutively and can be leveraged as needed.
- If a school corporation has evidence of community spread or a confirmed positive test for coronavirus, officials should consult with the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana State Department of Health for additional steps. Schools should plan now for broader closures, including eLearning and remote classroom options.
- The Department of Education will release additional guidance detailing the process for submitting waiver requests as early as Friday.
- Schools should follow the guidelines for non-essential gatherings as they make decisions about non-essential extra-curricular or co-curricular activities.
- Child care and adult day care facilities should institute social distancing and minimize large gatherings. Temporary suspension of operations should be done in consultation with the Family and Social Services and ISDH in the instance of documented community spread.
- The Indiana Department of Correction has suspended visitation at all facilities as a precaution for the health and safety of IDOC staff and offenders.
- Individuals over 60 years of age or those with a known underlying health issue such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease should limit their public exposure. Whenever possible, friends and family should arrange to provide food and other essential items.
- Those who run senior centers and congregate meal services should consider suspending congregate meals services and arrange for home delivery
- Encourage businesses to utilize telework policies, if available
- Nursing facilities and hospitals should restrict and screen visitors. Any individual who is allowed to visit is restricted to the patient’s room. Visitors are not allowed if they present with any of this criteria:
o Display signs or symptoms of illness, especially respiratory illness
o Have traveled internationally or been in contact with someone with a respiratory illness in the past 14 days
o Reside in a community with a known COVID-19 case
o Those who are less than 18 years of age
Deb McMahan, MD