Glacier Medical offers coronavirus recommendations

March 13, 2020 11:03 AM

As physicians and providers at Glacier Medical Associates we want to share with the community, some guidance on this new virus outbreak, now called COVID-19. We recognize that this situation is rapidly evolving and that though there are currently no documented cases in the Flathead Valley or Montana, this could change soon. It is important for all of us to understand what we can do about it.

Coronavirus is a type of cold virus that is passed just like other cold viruses by coughing or sneezing or by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention define risk as being in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with the illness for a prolonged period of time, or sitting within 6 feet of them in a healthcare waiting area or room or coming in contact with their secretions such as on a surface or used tissue. There is currently no vaccine to prevent this disease and so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed.

We do this in the following ways:

• Most importantly, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, after using the restroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Alternatively, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

• Avoid close contact (6 feet) with people who are sick with fever and cough.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Stay home when you are sick. Call your healthcare provider if you need guidance on when to be seen and at which location (ER or clinic).

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the crook of your elbow, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

• Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask (wear a mask if you have symptoms of fever, cough, sneezing or runny nose) to help prevent spread to others. The CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases with the exception of healthcare workers or those in close contact caring for someone with illness.

At Glacier Medical we are doing our best to prevent the spread of this illness by taking precautions to sanitize rooms and equipment, separating sick people from those who are well, and treating people in a timely manner. We have nurses or physicians available to answer questions about illness 24/7. We would ask those with fever and respiratory symptoms with possible exposure to coronavirus to call ahead if considering coming to the clinic so we can plan treatment. We have alcohol sanitizer and masks available at the entrance if you are sick and ask that you utilize these. We also are working closely with the hospitals and health department to facilitate testing of individuals who may have an exposure history and symptoms suggestive of this new coronavirus.

For more information on this illness contact the Flathead City-County Health Department Coronavirus Information line at (406) 751-8188. Our office can be reached anytime at (406) 862-2515.

Dr. Jon Miller, Glacier Medical Associates