Greetings from smack dab in the middle of unprecedented times. There is so much happening so quickly. We all know that there’s nobody who has seen anything like this. Isolation, self-quarantine, social-distancing-what’s the difference? Do I really have to do some of these things? We are here to help.
1. We have Corona test kits at the new clinic in Stockbridge! I have contracts with several private labs and got in line as soon as they rolled them out. We started testing at the end of the week in accordance with MA Health Department testing guidelines. Call us if you have symptoms or think you might have been exposed. Pittsfield should have an outdoor testing facility set up early this week also.
2. We are temporarily postponing all routine follow ups and are seeing people for more urgent matters. The low volume will help keep the clinic safe. We are wiping down surfaces throughout the day. We are advising that people stay away from hospitals unless absolutely necessary. We recommend you postpone routine tests or blood draws to reduce exposure.
As of yesterday COVID cases are still at 9 in the county, and the state has 164. The stagnated number here in the County likely reflects limited access to testing and we expect testing already underway will reveal a few more positives. But, as of writing this, hospitals here don’t seem overrun. That can change easily. With that recognition comes the more dramatic recommendations:
Over 60yo or immune suppressed?
If you are over 60, IsolateYourself. What does that mean? Don’t leave your house unless you have to. The people with more serious cases in other countries often have high blood pressure. If you fit that category you should take extra caution. This goes for the immunocompromised too. Isolation is hard because we are social beings!! Everyone should practice social-distancing now. This simply means avoiding close contact with other individuals in order to slow the spread of the virus. Rumors exist that the country will go on a two week shut down. We are getting close as it is.
Acts of Kindness
As schools close and society contracts, we are hearing about people pitching in to help fill the some of the gaps people face with lost wages, etc. NBA players are contributing to relief funds for staff who run the arenas, for example. Restaurants are giving out free meals to children while the schools are closed. I have had a couple of people reach out to volunteer to shop for people who are unsafe to leave the house, so let us know if you need help and we can connect you.
What if I get sick?
Jess and I are compiling guidelines for how to proceed in the event of symptoms. In general you should isolate yourself if you get symptoms, as long as they are not severe. Report symptoms to us and we will walk you through the considerations for testing and evaluation. Most people, even if vulnerable, will be able to tolerate it. There are currently no medicines recommended by mainstream medicine unless a patient is critically ill, but there are many things being explored.
Tips from the Alternative front
1. Looking for a natural cleaner to add to your toolbox? Here’s one that’s natural, nontoxic and effective against many viruses and bacteria and being used by many people during the pandemic. Hypochlorous Acid (example website: https://hocl.healthcare). You can spray it on doorknobs and even on your face and hands! It’s food grade and odorless and reasonable to add to your list of helpers.
2. Get away from WiFi at times. People are talking about the proposed weakening effects of WiFi in this whole thing, especially 5G. When you can, turn it off and your cellphone off. It’ll be standard practice in the future to have routers that turn off when not in use. It should be standard practice now to turn them off at night. Look into this. In the Berkshires a walk outdoors is great way to diminish these exposures and allowed with social-distancing!
3. Boosting vitamin C (2000mg per day as tolerated) and vitamin D (2-6000U per day) is something you can do and is generally well tolerated. Adding Check in if you have questions. Also Astralgus herbal tincture is a good one for this.
4. Some of you already have Ecchinacea Thuja (a homeopathic from Uriel pharmacy), this is good for prevention. 5-10 pillules twice per day. I have these at the office. Of course zinc lozenges or tincture is good, if you can find it.
The point here is there are things we can do to be active in this in addition to mitigating exposures.
Beyond the Berkshires
I am heartened to see less virulent numbers associated with COVID in S Korea and elsewhere as compared with the original numbers out of China. Does this mean that Corona could lose steam the more we learn more and implement our smartest measures against it? I’m very hopeful that will be the case. It’s wild to know that the future is not set.
In any case, action against the theoretical worst case scenarios is very prudent. I repeat that I am absolutely supportive of isolation for the most at-risk and social-distancing for everyone else. In Medicine there is always the potential of causing harm by doing needless intervention, on one side, and of doing too little intervention, on the other side. We need be constantly vigilant for the middle path where we toe the line between the two. We call that following the golden thread. This demands alertness and courage. We can look to balance isolation with finding creative ways of staying connected and to balance shutting down with finding other ways of forging ahead.
I’ll end with a public health official’s advice on how to be when out in public. The official recommended that we all act in a way to protect our neighbor from the possibility that we are contagious rather than each of us trying to protect our own self from the possibility of getting exposed. It transforms it completely, doesn’t it?
Many Blessings on your day!
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