March 13th Bulletin


Helpful tip: Berkshire Health System has a Nurse Triage Line which is fielding questions about Coronavirus.  They are open 7a to 7p and can be reached at the following number:

(855)-262-5465 or (855)-BMC-LINK

Save it.  It might be helpful for some of your questions. Of course I am always willing to help, but expand your resources.

We have had only a slow movement up in cases these last 2 days but testing is still not readily available.  As of last night there are 9 cases in the county and 108 in the state.  We have had two cases that have gone through Fairview Hospital.  The second case was a week and a half ago and presented with bronchitis and tested negative for the flu and went home, no testing for COVID was available.  The patient was admitted to BMC a week later and tested positive for COVID.  This is a community member with no travel history.  We have COVID widespread in the community and it likely has been so for a while.  This is not the case anywhere else in our state.  In fact, Governor Baker called the State of Emergency because of our county.  It almost certainly has to do with our popularity and connection with NYC.
Conclusion?  You know the drill by now.  Implement your full pandemic playbook for minimizing your exposure.  Wear your plastic gloves in the store and gas station, keep smart distances, cancel all nonessential meetings, be near a hospital only if you must, don’t touch your face, and wash a lot.

Society has rapidly contracted over the last few days.  Rightly so. Cancellations and closings are the order of the day.  Colleges and boarding schools were the first to close and now public elementary and secondary school systems in several states are closing.  Some private schools in Boston sent their children home yesterday. Our brothers and sisters in Italy and around the world are doing the same and may offer a glimpse of what is to come.  In many places in Italy all stores are closed except pharmacies and groceries and other essentials.  Rome closed all 900 of its Roman Catholic Churches.  Travel is quietly shutting down and the world economy is grinding down.  The service industry, entertainment industry and tourism industry as well as small and large businesses of all sizes are worrying about not getting through this without deep pain and major uncertainty.

The Mandate

In April 2015 a volcano in Iceland erupted and its ash halted air traffic over Europe for several days.  Europeans noticed the difference in a big way.  There was more space available to think.  As the global machinery turns down and the skies quiet down things are happening.  The sky is visible for the first time in a long time over some of the the typically smog-filled Chinese mega-cities.  As we head into this challenge we know that where there is fear there is the opportunity to reassure; where there is loss there is the opportunity to give; where there is pain there is the opportunity to soothe.
In the sequestration we have the opportunity, the mandate to look inward.  Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night when everything is quiet and reflect on the recent occurrences in your life?  Before electricity this is was the norm.  A quiet reflective period in the middle of the night was and is of great value. I liken this shutdown to that.  This event happens once in a lifetime.  We have stepped outside of our lives in a way.  We have the chance to ask ourselves what is essential for me to be bring more of myself to my life.  We know that so much of the way we run is not really authentic to ourself until we decide to take it on.

Scan through the virologist’s letter below if you need a refresher on the pandemic playbook.

Stay well!  Even if you get sick.

Until soon.

Dr Cooney