COVID-19 Information

04 07, 2019

From the area epidemiologist - Good Morning,

One of the reasons we do not share locations is that there have not been any cases definitively linked to surfaces. Here is information directly from CDC that may be something to consider sharing. Also, many of our facilities that are still open have greatly increased their cleaning and disinfecting of all contact surfaces.


Here is what the CDC writes regarding surfaces (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html), "Based on what is currently known about the virus and about similar coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets, but disease transmission via infectious aerosols is currently uncertain. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus in general occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings."

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html "Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food...It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, like a packaging container, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging."


Hope this helps,
Janell

04 06, 2020

Southeast Colorado Medical Clinic will continue to leave late clinic “on hold” this week. This is an attempt to make sure we don’t end up with large crowds all at once in the clinic/waiting areas. Currently, we have providers available through the day for regularly scheduled appointments. If you should need an appointment later than 4:30, please call the desk and we will do our absolute best to accommodate you.
Telehealth is moving forward! We are hoping to have proper Telehealth visits available in the next week or two. These will provide a great option for our patients during the social distancing recommendations. Please stay tuned, we will try to have a demonstration video as it becomes available. You will be able to see and hear your provider via video conferencing and do so from the comfort of your own home! Please understand, there may still be times your provider feels like they need a “hands on” visit or labs/imaging to determine your diagnosis that would require you to come in.

04 03, 2020

To help the general public understand what is being done to slow the spread of an outbreak we at Southeast Colorado Medical Clinic felt it would help to explain what happens during an epidemiological investigation.
What is an Epidemiological Investigation?
Whenever a patient tests positive for a reportable infection, the healthcare provider is required to report that infection to the local Public Health Department. Currently, the public is very concerned about COVID-19 infections in the community. Once the infection is reported to Public Health, an epidemiological investigation is started. The patient will be contacted by Public Health to get information about when symptoms started, when they could have been exposed, what locations they had been and who they have been in close contact with.
Depending on the infectious substance, Public Health Professionals will know the number of days they will need to collect information. . For example, for those who have tested positive for COVID-19, the Public Health Department will find out if the individual knows if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive to identify the source. Then, Public Health will find out when they first noticed any symptoms to identify the day they would have become infectious. Now knowing that day, they will figure out where they had been and who they had be in close contact with. The Public Health nurse will then contact those people to inform them that they potentially could have been exposed and advise them to self-isolate at home and watch for symptoms. Those infected may be asked to notify those who have been in contact with them. Health care providers are mandated to abide by HIPAA (privacy laws) and cannot release a person’s health information.
What does this mean for the rest of the community? The Public Health Department will put out public notices to keep the community informed and advise what they should do. Those at highest risk of being exposed are isolated from the rest of the community to prevent further spread.
Here is a complete explanation from the CDC if you would like to learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/eis/field-epi-manual/chapters/Field-Investigation.html

04 02, 2020

Southeast Colorado Hospital District has been actively following the COVID-19 crisis for the past month.
In response to the recommendations of the State of Colorado, SECHD has been screening our employees daily prior to the start of their shift for symptoms/travel or exposure to COVID-19, since the 2nd week of March 2020.

In the past week all staff and visitors are wearing masks as is recommended.

If you are in need of care, we are here for you. You may call the clinic (523.6628) or hospital (523.4501) in advance of arrival so we can provide you instructions, if warranted.

Colorado State has a help line to help people with questions: The number is 1-877-462-2911.
Colorado’s web page is covid19.colorado.gov.

03 30, 2020

Due to the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Baca County, Southeast Colorado Medical Clinic will only be seeing urgent/emergent needs. Any regular scheduled appointments such as follow ups, blood pressure checks, regular check-ups, etc will be postponed at least 14 days. The nursing staff will be calling those patients to reschedule them.
*In addition, for the following two weeks (Until April 13th, unless we notify otherwise) we will SUSPEND LATE CLINIC. We would prefer to have a more controlled entrance and exit from the clinic to limit the public risk of exposure.
If you desire a telephone-based clinic visit, please call the clinic and request a telephone visit. There may be a co-pay/deductible required for a formal telephone visit (as opposed to the provider just calling you to let you know labs etc. )
We are currently working with our Electronic Medical Record company to have full telehealth visits (video calling) in the near future.
Please bear with us and understand we are committed to protecting the health of all Baca County residents.


The medical providers at the clinic would request that any individual with non-urgent appointments over the next 2 weeks, please consider postponement of all non-essential appointments. Please, call your provider or discuss with the staff whether a phone check-in might be more appropriate.

Southeast Colorado Hospital and Medical Clinic cares about our patients and their health. We have been closely following the developments of COVID-19 in the state. Social distancing is being recommended to prevent the spread of this virus. This is especially important in rural areas like ours where resources are in short supply.
The medical providers at the clinic would request that any individual with non-urgent appointments over the next 2 weeks, please consider postponement of those appointments. Please, call your provider or discuss with staff whether a phone check in might be more appropriate. Routine check ups for high blood pressure, diabetes, medication changes could likely be handled via telephone without having to expose yourself and others to potential infection. Rest assured, we will remain open to meet all of your urgent medical needs. The staff of the clinic will be contacting patients with non-emergent visits scheduled to offer postponement of visits. WE will continue with late clinic as usual 4pm-6pm Monday through Thursday.

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS of fever (100.4*+), shortness of breath, cough and have been in any of the high-risk areas, PLEASE call the clinic or hospital first rather than just walking in. We have many elderly and at risk people in our facility and want to do all we can to minimize the risk of exposure. YOU WILL BE ASKED TO DON A MASK! While we understand these can be uncomfortable, they are necessary to protect everyone.

Even in cases of suspected COVID19, not every patient is appropriate for testing nor hospitalization. There are limited number of tests available in the United States at this time and we are tasked with being judicious with them. You may be triaged on the phone and asked to self-quarantine.

Advice from public health officials and the science community are rapidly changing-sometimes daily. We are committed to providing our community with the latest information as it becomes available as well as protecting those whom we serve.


COVID-19: The key information and ways to protect your family
By Medical student, Jacyln Anderson
Many people are now aware of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they may not know what symptoms to look out for and how to properly protect themselves. For some background information, the virus originated in China in December 2019 and the first case in the United States was reported on January 20, 2019. COVID-19 is also called Coronavirus and SARS-CoV-2. We hope that this article will provide information on how the virus is spread, what symptoms to expect, and how the people of Baca county can protect themselves from exposure
How is the virus spread?
The COVID-19 virus originated from bats in China, but quickly evolved to human to human spread. The virus has an ability to be spread through coughing, sneezing, or touching common surfaces. The respiratory droplets produced from coughing and sneezing tend to only travel six feet and thus emphasize the importance of social distancing. From the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus was found to remain on plastic up to 72 hours, 48 hours on stainless steel and up to 24 hours on cardboard. This indicates the importance of disinfecting heavily used areas such as door handles, tables, light switches, keyboards, and etc.
What symptoms should I look for?
Studies have shown that many people with COVID-19 virus will not display symptoms. According the Centers of Disease Control, 80% of people will develop mild symptoms. 20% of people may have a severe or critical viral syndrome requiring hospitalization possibly needing help breathing (with additional oxygen or ventilators, etc). The viral syndrome of COVID-19 includes common symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Less common symptoms include diarrhea, headache, sore throat, and runny nose. The average time between exposure and symptom development is about 5 days but may develop as late as 14 days after first exposure. According to the World Health Organization, patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms may experience symptoms up to 2 weeks. Patients with severe disease may have symptoms from 3-6 weeks in duration. Severe disease may occur more often in patients older than 65 years of age and with certain medical conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease. This does not mean that patients in younger age groups are unaffected. Data from the CDC indicates among people hospitalized for the disease, intensive care unit admissions for people between the ages of 20-44 years is reported at 12%, 45-65 years is reported at 36%, 65-84 years is reported at 36%, and ≥ 85 years is reported at 7%. This shows the importance of younger people limiting their own exposure not just to their protect family and friends that are at risk, but for their own health.
How can I protect my family from exposure?
There are many ways to protect your family from exposure to the COVID-19 virus. First, is to practice good hygiene. This has been discussed fully in the national news but washing hands for twenty seconds ensuring to scrub all surfaces or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) is an effective measure to reduce contamination. Hands should be sanitized often, but at least after sneezing, coughing, being in public and before eating. Next, is to abide by governmental recommendations of social distancing. This will reduce the rate of infection and allow healthcare workers the ability to provide essential treatment to the most in need. Try to remain six feet from people not from your own household and try to limit your outings to essential errands such as the grocery store, pharmacy, seeking healthcare, and etc. At this time, masks are not recommended for daily use. The CDC recommends the use of masks by the general public only If a member of your household becomes sick with COVID-19. The patient with the COVID-19 virus and the caregiver should wear masks due to their close encounters in the living space.
Why is it important that I limit my exposure to the virus?
These recommendations may seem to greatly affect your everyday life, but it is worth it. First of all, there is no vaccine currently available for the COVID-19 virus. Second, this is a preventable disease and thus it is important to take the appropriate measures to prevent this illness for you and your family. Thirdly, currently available treatments aim only to manage symptoms, not cure the illness. There are clinical trials on-going for various medications such as Chloroquinoline and Remdesivir, but these have not been determined to be safe or effective treatments yet. For more information on current clinical trials visit https://clinicaltrials.gov/.
Lastly, limiting our exposure to the virus is important not only for your personal health and the health of your community, but also for two other specific reasons. Many well-known viruses such a measles can cause lasting health effects long after the initial infection. Because this is a novel virus, we are not yet aware of the long-term health effects after a person has cleared the virus. More research is needed to determine possible long-term effects of Covid-19. Secondly, there are positive effects of social distancing on the spread of the virus. This idea of “flattening the curve” is tossed around by the national media frequently. The hope of “flattening the curve” is to spread out the number of diseases over a longer period of time. If we all do not do our part to limit social interactions, the number of infections could overwhelm the healthcare system meaning resources to help the severe and critically ill could be limited to unavailable. We all have the power to help our local community through these small actions.
To review the local COVID-19 situation in Colorado, please refer to the Colorado Department of Public health website. Also, for information for your local county refer to the COVID-19 Information page for Baca County.
Colorado Department of Public Health: Information on the Outbreak of COVID-19
https://covid19.colorado.gov/
Baca County, CO: COVID-19 Information
https://www.bacacountyco.gov/covid-19-information/
Some information about the authors, Jaclyn Anderson is a third-year medical student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has a passion for medical education for the public that is easy read and understand. Melissa Laughter, PhD is a third-year medical student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has a passion for medical educational and wound healing research.
Sources
Q+A: How Long Can The Virus That Causes COVID-19 Live On Surfaces?
https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/03/20/sars-cov-2-survive-on-surfaces/
New England Journal of Medicine: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities: Preparing for Community Transmission of COVID-19 in the United States
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/guidance-hcf.html
Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm
Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf
CDC: How to Protect Yourself
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
Medical student, Jacyln Anderson

03 23, 2020

Southeast Colorado Hospital District will comply with the current recommendations and government orders regarding COVID-19.
We ask our patients understanding in these difficult times.

Please know, that social isolation is working! The COVID -19 cases in Colorado continue to rise; but, certainly not at a rate that has been seen in other places that did not enact early social isolation. When everyone does their part, it helps!!
Please note the following:
All non-urgent/emergent procedures and visits should be postponed until the restrictions are lifted. We are currently working diligently to use telehealth for those patients who need to check in; but, should not be out in the public.
Independent adults should come to visits alone if possible. We understand an elderly parent may need to have a companion and that is fine, please limit this to ONE person.
Children; where possible, should only be accompanied by ONE parent. While we understand there are single parents who have no choice and will certainly accommodate them. It is important we limit the numbers of people in the clinic at one time.
We will be suspending routine labs for the interim. Your provider will consult on routine labs and determine if they are still needed at this particular point in time or if they can be postponed for a period of time.

Click the bar below for additional Information.-

Ways You Can Help Prevent It.