“After hearing about this virus for several weeks in the news, and still having very few positive test results, with only 3 cases attributed to Idaho County, it may be tempting to resume life as normal,” says Dr. Kelly McGrath, Chief Medical Officer at Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics. “While it does appear that what we are doing with social distancing and all the extra precautions we are taking are working, going back to our normal daily routines, at this point, is not in the best interest of our communities.”
“Just because the virus appears to be keeping its distance from our communities does not mean that we are immune to it,” says McGrath. “The practices put in place such as avoiding close contact with people who do not live in your household, 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, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe remain just as important today as they were several weeks back.”
“The most recent studies have shown that the virus lives in the air for about 3-4 hours, on cardboard for 14 hours and on plastic and stainless steel for three days,” says Mark Ackerman, PA. “This shows that making an effort to keep from traveling into public places, where you don't have control over cleaning these surfaces, is still very important, especially when many who have the virus may be spreading it unknowingly.”
“The healthcare workers on the frontlines at St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics are working hard to prepare for COVID-19 to hit our areas,” says McGrath. “But the more cooperation we have from community members, by maintaining social distancing recommendations, the better it will be for all of us!”
“One of the biggest changes we have made at SMH/CVHC is the introduction of telemedicine visits for primary care,” continues McGrath. “Seeing patients via telemedicine appointments allows us to maintain social distancing recommendations while still caring for our patients who have ongoing health needs that are not related to COVOD-19. The last thing that we would want as healthcare providers is for our patients to not receive the care they need during this time.”
“We have taken every effort to make sure our clinic, ER and hospital environments are safe. We want to make sure that people who need care, either via telemedicine or with direct care, are not avoiding necessary care out of fear. Your safety, should you need direct care, is a priority for us,” adds McGrath. If you need to schedule an appointment, via telemedicine or face-to-face, call 208-476-5777 in Orofino and 208-962-3267 in Cottonwood.