To the editor:
Like hospitals and health care providers across the state, LincolnHealth has been working since the earliest reported case of COVID-19, or coronavirus, to prepare for a response when it is needed.
The challenge with an evolving and novel virus is that the spread of misinformation and fear is often swifter than the movement of the virus. That’s why it is critical for all of us to choose reliable sources for the latest information.
If you visit lincolnhealthme.org, you can get the most up-to-date information and links to credible information. Simply click the banner at the top of the page.
To recap, here’s what the experts believe about the virus:
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet).
To get the virus, you must be exposed to someone who has returned from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of coronavirus or have close contact with a person known to have COVID-19.
It is spread through “respiratory droplets” when a person coughs or sneezes.
People with COVID-19 are thought to be most contagious when they are sickest, though some spread might be possible before people show symptoms.
Older persons and people with underlying health conditions are impacted most by COVID-19.
There are some preventive actions you can take to help prevent the spread of any respiratory diseases, including:
– Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
– Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
– Staying home when you are sick.
– Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
– Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
– Following CDC recommendations for using a face mask. The CDC does not recommend at this time that people who are well wear a face mask.
– Washing your hands often 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.
If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath:
– Call your primary care doctor for guidance. You will be asked some basic screening questions to determine next steps.
– Stay at home until further directed.
– For your health and the health of others, do not arrive unannounced at an urgent care clinic or emergency department.
Preparing for potential health emergencies is nothing new at LincolnHealth. We conduct drills regularly to test our capacity in the event of a planned or unplanned emergency, and we work with state and local emergency management agencies and other partners to assure that our response is coordinated and effective.
Our coronavirus work group will continue to meet regularly to review all of the elements of preparedness and the latest treatment and testing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are also collaborating with our partners across MaineHealth and at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention through this process.
We will continue to update our website with the latest guidance and information while doing all that we can to be prepared in the event of COVID-19 arriving in Lincoln County.
Timothy Fox, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, LincolnHealth