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Keep Others Safe. Stay Home.

By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health

The Covid 19 pandemic is bound to impact all of us at some point. 

My sister and her two daughters have been fighting it for 2 weeks, with muscle/body aches and pains, chills, headaches and shortness of breath. They describe breathing as painful, relieved only by humidification.  They are fatigued, saying that even taking a shower is taxing.  My sister is 47, tall, thin, healthy and works out daily.  She is on day 14 and continues to have fevers intermittently of 101.  Her daughters are college and high school age and started recovering on day 8, but continue with fatigue and cough.  They live in Iowa.  

They are fortunate to be among the 80% that will become ill and won’t need to be hospitalized.  

The other 20% of those that become ill WILL need to be hospitalized. To understand how many people will be impacted, look at the temporary hospitals that are being put up in New York and other places around the country, tents in Central Park, ships in ports, arena’s and gyms, all there to take care of the 20% that will have severe symptoms.

PLEASE STAY HOME.  

The goal of social distancing is to slow the rate of spread.  We know that the illness is going to sweep through our communities.  The hope is to slow it down – so we have enough hospital beds, supplies and medical staff to care for the 20% when needed.  

We know people of our community will become ill. The statistics also tell us that if 5 people in a community died of influenza this year, approximately 10 times that, or 50 people, will die of Covid 19 in a community.

 

Slowing the spread is the responsibility of all of us.  It means isolating ourselves to homes, to our communities.  The less you venture out, the less you bring the virus into your home and into your community, and the less likely you are to spread the virus to your family, friends and neighbors.  

 

It is time to take care of ourselves and each other by staying home. We must in order to get through this.  

It will be a trying time, but we can do it! We can do it together!

If you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.

COVID-19: Protect Yourself

By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health

Coronavirus, Sars-CoV-2 or Covid 19, words, that at Thanksgiving, were unfamiliar and nonexistent. Now, they are part of our daily conversation, seeped deeply into every part of our day.

Now that we recognize the name, now that it is in our state and our county, what can we do about it?

WE NEED TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

Our best protection is not to get it. This is why we’ve created “well clinics” in Garnavillo and Edgewood. This is why it is so important to avoid contact with people outside your own home. If you must go out, practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from other people.

The best ways to prevent infection and spread of respiratory diseases, like COVID-19, include:

• Staying home if you are sick

• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

• Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze

• Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• Disinfecting surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

• If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care provider before coming in. Symptoms to look for are: chills, fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, chest pain and shortness of breath.

• 2-1-1 is a phone line available across Iowa to assist with general questions on COVID-19.

If you develop trouble breathing, high fevers, chest pain, confusion, lethargy, blue lips or face you should seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Department immediately.

Be well and take care of each other. Follow the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the guidance of the state of Iowa, continue social distancing and stay local. And, please continue to visit our Facebook page and our website for updated information as recommendations change daily.

GMHC Opens “Ill” Clinic and Urges Patients to Call Ahead

The Guttenberg Cornerstone Family Practice clinic is now open for ill patient visits ONLY and our clinics in Garnavillo and Edgewood are “Well” clinics, open for our healthy patients ONLY. Guttenberg hours have also changed to Monday through Friday: 8am to 5pm, no Saturdays.

All patients should call first to schedule an appointment, 563-252-2141, before going to either an “ill” clinic or a “well” clinic. If you have an appointment scheduled at one of our three clinics (Guttenberg, Edgewood or Garnavillo) you will be contacted by our office.

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care provider.

2-1-1 is a phone line available across Iowa to assist with general questions on COVID-19.

We are evaluating our clinic access on a daily basis to meet our patient’s needs. As information changes rapidly, please see our GMHC Facebook page or our website for updates.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES:

GMHC is now limited to one entrance. The main hospital entrance will now be the only entrance used and the Cornerstone Family Practice clinic entrance will be closed. Clinic patients should come through main hospital entrance. All emergencies will still go to the emergency entrance.

GMHC has created a COVID-19 resource page on the website. Visit our website for GMHC updates.

i-SERV is the Iowa Department of Public Health’s secure online registry for individuals wishing to volunteer in the event of a large scale disaster or public health emergency. i-SERV is part of a federal e ort to coordinate and assemble volunteers for all types of emergencies. Please register online at https://www.iaserv.org.

GMHC is again accepting fabric masks. Please call 252-1121 to arrange drop o , please do not enter the hospital.

GMHC is also accepting donations of factory made personal protective equipment (N95 masks, unopened boxes of nitrate gloves, gowns or face shields) please call 252-1121 to arrange drop-off, please do not enter the hospital.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we protect our patients and staff.

GMHC Opens “Ill” Care Clinic

GMHC Opens “Ill” Care Clinic

Clayton County COVID-19 Updates

Clayton County COVID-19 Update

GMHC Starts Well Care Clinics

Starting March 23, 2020 the Garnavillo and Edgewood Cornerstone Family Practice clinics will be opened regularly scheduled hours for Well Care visits ONLY.

What does this mean? Only healthy patients will be allowed to enter, including patients for medication refills, well child exams and immunizations, physicals and routine lab draws.

If you have an appointment scheduled at one of our three clinics (Guttenberg, Edgewood or Garnavillo) you will be contacted by our office for a screening.

You will be offered these options:

• Keep your scheduled appointment

• Reschedule to a later date

• Reschedule to the Well Care Clinic in either Garnavillo or Edgewood

We are evaluating our clinic access on a daily basis to meet our patient’s needs. As information changes rapidly, please see our GMHC Facebook page for updates.

NO VISITORS

In response to the current COVID-19 public health crisis, and out of an abundance of caution, the hospital is NOT allowing visitors at this time. Access to GMHC will be limited to outpatients and clinic patients (with one caregiver if needed) AND limited to our two main entrances: the main entrance of the hospital and the main entrance of Cornerstone Family Practice in Guttenberg. All who enter will asked screening questions. 

SPECIALTY CLINICS SUSPENDED

In addition, all specialty clinics will be suspended through the end of April. 

Thank you for helping us protect our patients and colleagues. 

As information changes rapidly, please see our GMHC Facebook page for further updates.

COVID-19: GMHC Urges Patients to Call First

Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics is requesting all patients who are experiencing respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 to call their primary care provider first before coming to the Guttenberg, Garnavillo, or Edgewood Cornerstone Family Practice clinics, main hospital or emergency department. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 

GMHC leaders continue to work closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) and have developed a specific response plan for both the hospital and Cornerstone Family Practice clinics. 

“We urge all patients who are symptomatic and may have been exposed, to call their primary care provider first. The provider will determine next steps,” said CEO Tim Ahlers. “Of course, in an emergency, please call 9-1-1.” 

GMHC Events Canceled 

To ensure GMHC does not contribute to additional risk of exposure to the virus for the colleagues, physicians, patients and the communities it serves, effective immediately, GMHC will not participate in or hold external community events. This includes events within any of our facilities or within the community.

This action follows CDC guidelines to limit gatherings which could unintentionally put colleagues, patients and our community members at risk. These guidelines are in effect until at least April 15 and will be reassessed at that time. 

Prevention Measures

The most important thing for residents to do is to continue the prevention measures they would use for any respiratory virus. 

• Avoid close contact to people who are sick. 

• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, keeping your hands away from your face. 

• Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or upper arm. 

• Contain germs by staying home when ill. 

• CDC and IDPH do not recommend face masks for the general public who are well. 

For the most current information about the novel coronavirus, visit IDPH or CDC.

 

GMHC Events Canceled

 To ensure GMHC does not contribute to additional risk of exposure to the virus for our colleagues, physicians, patients and the communities we serve, effective immediately, GMHC will not participate in or hold external community events. This includes events within any of our facilities or within the community. 

This action follows CDC guidelines to limit gatherings which could unintentionally put colleagues, patients and our community members at risk. These guidelines are in effect until at least April 15 and will be reassessed at that time. 

The most important thing for residents to do is to continue the prevention measures they would use for any respiratory virus. 

• Avoid close contact to people who are sick. 

• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, keeping your hands away from your face. 

• Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or upper arm. 

• Contain germs by staying home when ill. 

• CDC and IDPH do not recommend face masks for the general public who are well. 

For the most current information about the novel coronavirus, visit IDPH.

GMHC Preparing for COVID-19

Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics leaders are working closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to prepare for the potential spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

Leaders are participating in webinars, holding internal planning sessions, and working with regional partners to develop specific response plans for both the hospital and Cornerstone Family Practice clinics. If a patient presents who is symptomatic and may have been exposed, our staff will be prepared, working directly with the IDPH in patient screening processes and patient assessment.

“In a time of uncertainty, social media becomes a platform for rumors and misinformation,” said CEO Tim Ahlers. “As we prepare, GMHC relies on trusted sources of information like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and IDPH and we encourage the public to do the same.”

IDPH updates its COVID-19 website every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with current data on Iowans being monitored or tested for the virus, and what the test results are. The website is also updated immediately with new information as necessary.

Right now, the most important thing for residents to do is to continue the prevention measures they would use for any respiratory virus.

• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, keeping your hands away from your face.

• Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or upper arm.

• Contain germs by staying home when ill.

• CDC and IDPH do not recommend face masks for the general public who are well.

Symptoms of COVID-19 in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 

For more information about the novel coronavirus, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.

Do You Know the Signs?

It started as slight uncomfortable pressure in his chest the evening of August 28, 2019.

Nothing too serious. He thought perhaps it was indigestion from his supper. He took one aspirin with two Tums.

And then, Mark Mather began sweating, and the pressure didn’t subside. He and his wife Becky decided it was time to visit the Emergency Department at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics.

 

“When I arrived in the ED, the discomfort was greatly reduced,” recalls Mark. “In fact, I apologized for taking up their time. ED Provider Beth Sadewasser assured me that I’d made the right decision to come get checked out  and I was immediately taken to an emergency room for tests.” 

 

Mark was evaluated with blood tests and an EKG. Beth consulted with a cardiologist confirming that Mark had indeed had a heart attack and he was transported by ambulance immediately to Dubuque.

At 7:30 a.m. on August 29, Mark had an angiogram revealing he had partial blockage of two coronary arteries, which was corrected with the placement of two stents. “I’m so thankful I knew the warning signs and went to the ED at GMHC right away,” said Mark.

After one night in the hospital, and a week of recovery, Mark began cardiac rehabilitation at GMHC three days a week for the next six weeks. “The entire staff was very helpful and caring during my rehab. They thoroughly answered all of my questions and worked closely with my cardiologist in Dubuque. The level of professionalism and knowledge was very comforting,” said Mark. “GMHC rehab helped heal my heart, giving me more energy for the activities I enjoy.”

Cardiac rehab patient Mark Mather with Respiratory Therapist Amanda Miller.

Amanda Miller, one of Mark’s therapist commented, “My job as a therapist at GMHC is so rewarding. It is great to inspire patients like Mark to work hard, knowing that together as a staff, we make a real difference in our patients’ health.”

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kills about 2,300 a day. Obesity in both youth and adults is at an all-time high, youth are being diagnosed with heart disease earlier than ever and people just ZIP codes apart can live 25 years less than their neighbors because of disparities in health. American Heart Month is vital for awareness, but the American Heart Association urges people to take care of their hearts year-round. 

Consider the facts:

  • Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Heart attacks affect more people every year than the population of Dallas, Texas.
  • 72% of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease
  • 83% believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything.
  • And 58% put no effort into improving their heart health.

While science is advancing medicine in exciting new ways, unhealthy lifestyle choices combined with rising obesity rates in both kids and adults have hindered progress fighting heart disease.

The good news is that heart disease is preventable in most cases with healthy choices, which include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week and getting regular checkups. 

Other than being older, Mark had no other risk factors for a heart attack.

 

“Knowing the warning signs and symptoms may have saved my life,” says Mark. “I knew to get checked out, and I’m very pleased with the emergency services I received at GMHC. Our community is fortunate to have the hospital right here.”

 

Heart Attack Symptoms

CHEST DISCOMFORT: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

DISCOMFORT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE UPPER BODY: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

SHORTNESS OF BREATH: with or without chest discomfort.

OTHER SIGNS: may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. 

Stroke Symptoms: Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.

FACE DROOPING: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

ARM WEAKNESS: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH DIFFICULTY: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

TIME TO CALL 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

SUDDEN LOSS OF RESPONSIVENESS: No response to tapping on shoulders.

NO NORMAL BREATHING: The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.