Coronavirus Update: Social Distancing

Dear AIM Health Patients,

I hope this message finds you well and at home safe, and with plans to stay there, if possible.  I am sure most of you are well-informed about the multiple closures of public spaces and cancellations of meetings and gatherings.  We, your physicians, are urging you to please adhere to the most recent recommendations for social distancing that are now being recommended by the CDC and state and local health experts.  

Flattening The Curve

Things are changing rapidly.  We are now at a critical point with the coronavirus spread in Oregon and across our country.  One of the best weapons we have to combat the spread of this virus is to physically distance ourselves from others.  This is a time-sensitive issue if we wish to slow the rate that the virus spreads and the rate at which people become seriously ill.  There are only so many critical care beds and equipment available, which is where the trending phrase ”flatten the curve” applies. This means we are trying to slow the rate of infection so the number of people who need hospital care remains consistent with what our hospitals can handle.  (See graphic below). 

Social distancing was proven to be effective in the 1918 influenza pandemic. According to the Washington Post, St Louis practiced social distancing in 1918 when Philadelphia did not. Philadelphia’s outbreak overwhelmed the healthcare system and had a significantly higher death rate than Saint Louis’s 1918 influenza outbreak.

What Does Social Distancing Mean in Your Practical Day-to-Day?

The social distancing recommendations apply to EVERYONE.  In practical terms, this includes the following:

  • If you are over 60, please stay home.  
  • If you can work from home, please do.
  • If you have to go out, try to keep 6 feet away from others.  This is the distance most droplets from sneezes and coughs contaminated with the virus can travel through the air.
  • Cancel parties/celebrations/meetings big and small.  Weddings, birthdays, playdates, dinner parties, book groups, etc.
  • Support decisions to close schools, churches, athletic clubs/gyms.
  • Support your local small businesses/restaurants by buying gift cards.
  • Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.  Wash for at least 20 seconds (this is longer than you think) vigorously.  Palms and backs of hands, under fingernails and between fingers.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched often—cellphones, doorknobs, handles, toilets, counters, keyboards, etc.  We think the virus can live on multiple surfaces for hours to days.
  • Yes, cancel your trips/travel for business or pleasure.
  • Do not visit your elderly relatives in nursing homes.  
  • If you order groceries or packages online, please wash your hands thoroughly after unpacking.
  • If you are scheduled to have elective surgery in the next couple of weeks, consider rescheduling—after speaking with your surgeon or your AIM Health physician, of course.  It is highly likely that most elective surgeries will be cancelled in the coming days as we try to free up hospital staff, beds and resources.

Please reach out to us at AIM either by phone or email/MyChart.  We are here to answer any questions and help guide you through this challenging and unprecedented time.  We will continue to update you as things change.

Sincerely,

Dr. Gillcrist and the AIM Health Team

p.s. Read more about social distancing here:

https://medium.com/@ariadnelabs/social-distancing-this-is-not-a-snow-day-ac21d7fa78b4