Coronavirus precautions are vital
To the Editor;
To the communities of Piscataquis County, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, your local healthcare providers want to thank you for your ongoing efforts to confront this virus, even if illness is not significantly appreciated in our communities at this time.
As of Monday, March 23, Piscataquis County has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus. However, this should provide a false sense of reassurance. Our ability to test is greatly limited. I have had patients who I suspect have coronavirus, but have been unable to test them due to lack of available testing. In short, for most patients, testing is not available. For most, the recommendation to stay at home for 14 days, and implement conservative measures to treat a viral infection while monitoring for worsening respiratory symptoms, is universal whether a patient has a positive test or not. We trust these patients are indeed staying indoors for the entire recommended quarantine, however, cannot guarantee this. As healthcare providers, we cannot understate the importance of limiting your social exposures throughout this time given these variabilities.
We must assume ongoing risk of community transmission. We must continue social distancing. Stay home unless you have to leave for essential tasks. We must limit visiting with family who are not in our immediate households. Shopping for food or other supplies should no longer be a regular occurrence, but rather an occurrence of necessity. Utilize curbside services provided by local businesses. We must reach out to our most vulnerable population, those elderly patients and those with pre-existing medical conditions; offer to drop food and other essentials at their doorstep to keep their exposure limited. We will be significantly impacted by this virus, that is guaranteed. However by continuing all of these measures we ensure our healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, and our patients – you, your family, your friends, and your loved ones — stand a chance to weather this storm.
John Daggett, MD
Dr. Daggett is an internal medicine physician at Northern Light Mayo Hospital and Northern Light Milo Family Practice.