News

Now What?

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

Now what?

The governor has changed the status of restrictions for 77 Iowa counties, including Clayton County.  What does that mean?  What can we do now?  What SHOULD we do now?

Though restrictions are being loosened, we need to remember the important things we have learned over the past 6 weeks:

– continue to practice social distancing, stay 6 feet apart
– wash hands frequently
– remember to stay at home when sick
– if you don’t need to go out, don’t
– if you have to go out, wear a mask
– stay home if you’re high risk

The Govenor has stated she has faith in Iowans that they will do the responsible thing.  Does that describe how you are approaching the guidelines and lifestyle changes that go along with the new world of COVID-19?

Raise your hand if you have a mask?

OK, now raise your hand if you wear it when you leave your house.

If you currently have the opportunity to be at work, raise your hand if you wear a mask at work, especially if you work with the public.

Now as some of the restrictions have been lifted, remember, that does not mean that all of the restrictions have been lifted. There are still expectations as described above.  But remember to reach out to those in your life.  Call the bank to ask questions, call for delivery of groceries or curb side pick up, have lunch delivered, or call your doctors office and make an appointment—it may be at a “Well clinic”, it may be a telemedicine visit, it may be a phone visit.  Call a friend and a family member every day, just to see how they are doing.

It is important at this time to reach out to the essential people in your life.  Pick up that phone, after all, that is why Alexander Graham Bell invented it!

Please remember to wear a mask when you leave your home and when working with the public.  It makes a difference, it helps make our job easier.  Thank you.

Remember, we are in this together.

May Day!

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

 

May Day!  

Sometimes words can mean two different things, depending on context and perspective.  Reaching back to 5th grade English class, and a little help from my husband, I am reminded that these words are called homographs.

May Day! May 1st, the beginning of spring!  

OR 

May Day! I need help!

This year it seems to mean both, not one or the other.  One minute we are celebrating Spring! The grass is turning green, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and migrating, we are dusting off the grills and we are opening up the windows and letting in fresh air.

But our reality is we are stuck at home, limited to traveling to the grocery store and back.  We are surrounded by the same four walls, the same people, the same TV stations. We are eating the same home cooked meals with limited carry out, getting tired of our own cooking.  We are wearing masks, knowing that they are important to wear, but feeling claustrophobic. We are worrying about who will become ill or if it will be us.  

Cabin fever at its peak!

Fear, stress and anxiety. What a trio. We typically look forward to spring because it naturally helps treat these issues by allowing us to open the doors and spread our wings.  COVID-19 has clipped our wings.  Now what do we do? 

There are a number of ways to self manage stress and anxiety at home.  Lets start with the taking a deep breath and know that you are not the only one with these feelings.  Everyone has these thoughts and fears.  So what do we do about them?

Management of anxiety and depression starts with a plan.  

  • Develop a daily routine or schedule.
  • Eat healthy, nutritious meals
  • Keep a healthy sleep routine, get 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Exercise daily
  • Find a daily meditation or reflection
  • Keep a daily journal or diary
  • Find a family activity, even if it is just eating supper at the table together every night, preparing, cooking and clean up time together.
  • Call or connect with one or two people each day.  Reach out to a family member or friend by phone or social platform

Connecting during this time with your primary care provider can also be beneficial. They want to partner with you on all levels of your health. Call his or her office, make an appointment (telemedicine is a great option). Keep in touch with a support group or your therapist. 

We can get through this, one day at a time.  

We are in this together.

Let’s Talk Masks

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

Masks…should we wear them or shouldn’t we. It is obvious that those in health care are wearing them, but what about you?

Simply, the answer is YES, WEAR A FACEMASK whenever you are not in your home.

The CDC, Dr. Fauci, and the President’s coronavirus task force all agree that wearing a cloth face covering to cover the nose and mouth can be helpful in decreasing the spread of COVID-19.   The mask should be worn in addition to (not instead of) social distancing and frequent hand washing.  

It should be noted that wearing a cloth face mask is not intended to directly protect the wearer, but may prevent the spread of the virus to others.  Remember, we do not know when someone becomes contagious (when they may spread the disease to others). Being contagious may start before they show symptoms. 

The more people around you wearing masks, the less the chance that you will get the virus from them.  So by wearing a mask, you protect others and remind them that they should be wearing a mask too, which in turn protects you.  

Medical masks should be worn by our medical workers, cloth masks should be worn by EVERYONE.  

There are many patterns for “sew” and “no sew” masks on line.  If you don’t feel you are able to manage the creative task of making a facemask you may know someone that is up to the task.  I made mine out of old shirts that were in a donation pile and no longer being worn.  

If you feel you have no options, contact your local medical office, clinic or hospital, Clayton Co. VNA or Clayton Co. Emergency Management. We will partner together to get our communities masked. 

If you have been sewing fabric masks, please continue to sew them, and drop off at GMHC or Family Resource Center and we will redistribute them to our communities.

When you wear a mask, you are protecting and caring for each other.  Wear a mask when you go shopping, get your mail or work with anyone that you don’t live with.  

We are in this together.

COVID-19: Treatment at Home

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

COVID-19 has perplexed all of us, creating many questions and concerns. Probably the most pertinent concern, for our community and your care staff, is what to do if you come down with COVID-19.  

If you develop fever, cough/respiratory symptoms or shortness of breath, you may be infected. We know that 80% of the time, you will be able to manage your symptoms at home.  If you have symptoms, follow these suggestions:

  • stay at home, do not leave your home except for medical care.
  • separate yourself from others in your home.  Stay in a “sick room” if possible.
  • avoid sharing personal household items (like dishes, glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, etc.).
  • get rest and stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.  Humidification may help the breathing.  Even though you need to rest, remember to get some activity to help expand your lungs, walking in your room or the hallway may be all you can tolerate, but can help.
  • use acetaminophen (Tylenol) as needed. 
  • clean high touch surfaces daily: counters, doorknobs, phones, remotes, key boards, etc.

Monitor your symptoms carefully.  If your symptoms worsen, or you have concerns, contact your medical provider by calling their office. Your provider can assess whether you need to be seen in the office, or if you can recover at home.  Also, there may be options for your provider to evaluate you via telehealth or telemedicine, called a virtual visit.  

There are isolation recommendations for those with COVID-19, and those with fever or respiratory symptoms.  You should stay at home and isolate from others in the house until:

  • you have had no fever for at least 72 hours (3 full days) without use of medicines that reduce fever

AND

  • other symptoms have improved/resolved

AND

  • it has been at least 7 days since your symptoms first appeared

Isolation is also recommended for those that live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19.  They should stay at home for 14 days after the last exposure. 

Remember, if you have questions, call your provider.  Most are now able to evaluate patients via the phone and computer, this is referred to as Telehealth and Telemedicine.  

We are in this together.

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.

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.

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. 

• Wear face masks when out and about in the public, and socially distance at least six feet from others. 

• Contain germs by staying home when ill. 

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