I’m running out of relevant pictures to post. I don’t have any more painted rocks. So I’m going to pin up pretty pictures instead, like everyone seems to be doing. This is near the top of Mt Rainier two summers ago. I think the analogy is appropriate though…..still a lot of climb left ahead of us.

So my last post kinda freaked people out and I’m sorry for that. But I’m not in charge of the reality of our situation. I’m merely pointing it out. Don’t shoot the messenger.

The numbers down the road to the south keep going up. Detroit now has confirmed 6500 cases, 184 deaths, more confirmed than Canada and Mexico combined. And Doubling the numbers every 3 days.
Cadillac has a couple more tested positive including at least one more admission. That’s 4 total. The numbers across northwest MI are starting to creep up with roughly 40 total in the Munson system.
Let’s hope we can keep it to a trickle not a flood.
The news is grim. It’s hard to read, hard to watch. It can get depressing and the feeling of inevitable helplessness in the face of what is likely coming can be overwhelming. I think that’s the hardest thing for people—feeling helpless. Wash your hands, stay home. Ok that’s great BUT WHAT ELSE. There HAS to be something. I HAVE toilet paper. Give me something else to do to get ready.
So we keep looking. And keep getting more depressed.
And unfortunately there isn’t more than that and it’s decidedly unsatisfying to sit and wait. But unless you are working that’s your job now.

So today I’m going to give you some positive stuff to make you feel better. Dr Feelgood. That’s me.

—your hospital and medical community are doing some amazing, unprecedented things to get ready for this. There is a 400 lb gorilla marching up I-75, and though we might be comparative chipmunks in little white coats, the fists are up and there is a determined snarl on the faces. Every meeting, every update, there is no panic. Definitely a sense of urgency and purpose but I have utter faith in those around me and at the hospital, that this will be a fight we will win though it’s going to probably get ugly before we do.

I’m not privy to all the actual numbers and contingency plans (Remember, I don’t work for the hospital. We are closely affiliated, because that’s where everything gets done, but my practice is independent and I’m not involved in all of that. I just hear about it peripherally. what makes our medical community somewhat unique, though, is the close relationship between the hospital with the independent doctors out there, at least in Cadillac. It’s a big reason there has been such close coordination. We have very good leadership, open lines of communication and we all have each other’s backs. They tell us what we need to know.)
I CAN tell you that the hospital is being turned into a Covid-focused center and all preparations are being made for that. We are also going to be taking Manistee Covid pts as well so presumably they will be taking some of ours that don’t have Covid. The idea being to try and keep those pts with the infection centered here, at Munson TC and also Grayling, to minimize duplication of effort. Those hospitals were determined to be the best places for this purpose due to available resources and manpower.
If/when the need arises, there has been some extensive contingency plans for room and bed expansion, maximizing ventilator usage, repurposing parts of the hospital, etc. I don’t know the numbers or all the details and frankly they aren’t important and will change as the needs arise. Suffice to say that I am not easily impressed—and I’m impressed. It really all depends on how many pts and how fast. They need to be ready at all of these places for the worst case and that’s what is happening. What boggles my mind is how quickly stuff is moving. Usually in normal times there’s about 59 committee meetings to get even a small percentage of this stuff done.

—this has also included identifying who in the medical community can help out in the hospital if called upon. Again, without giving too many details, the response has been amazing. Doctors, nurses, all manner of medical personnel, are all stepping up. Many haven’t worked in the hospital for years but are willing to do it if needed. It’s truly an ‘all hands on deck’ response and, having seen the list, it’s impressive. People love this little town and want to take care of it.

—PPE is still a problem. Not just here but everywhere. Guess where the US gets most of that stuff? The same place that is not exactly happy with us calling this the ‘China Virus’….yep, China. So its unknown if we are going to be seeing a lot of China-made masks anytime soon. Maybe we will but locally no one is holding their breath waiting—-there are politics at play wayyyyyyy above us chipmunks.
So the hospital has taken steps to find other ways to procure what may be needed. There has been a tremendous response to the request for donated supplies. (There’s a drop-off site in the Munson Rehab building, btw, if you have any masks in particular. Keep donating, people, if you’ve got em sitting around.). People are also making dozens of homemade washable masks. There’s several local companies making face shields, which can be cleaned, and then donating them. My favorite story is the Iron Fish Distillery in TC making hand sanitizer out of essentially moonshine (it’s gotta be at least 70% alcohol) And donating that.
We are also figuring out ways to safely recycle and clean masks and the next step is to make our own masks out of hospital-grade materials. All in the works because we simply cannot count on anyone else to provide it.
Necessity is the Mother of invention. It’s some serious Rosie the Riveter/WW2-type sh*t and it makes me proud.

—I’ve said from my first post on this we need more testing capability. With the Defense Procurement Act passed that’s happening quicker. We haven’t seen it locally yet……but barriers are being knocked down for point of care tests to be fast tracked. They are being made already, just need to see them in enough numbers to be practical. Tests in South Korea were abundant and they were able to specifically quarantine people with the infection instead of just everyone. That’s the game changer, folks. Once that happens we can start to get back to normal. But it’s going to take a massive effort.

—-Humana and Cigna insurance companies are waiving fees related to Covid. That’s pretty cool. I Hope Blue Cross and Priority Health follow suit (if you’re reading this, BCBS and PH people in suits, that means YOU. Do what’s right and already being done by your competition).

—-the small business loans available to our practice and any business less than 50 people are going to be life saving. If you haven’t looked into it, you have a small business, and you want to keep your staff, then call your bank. I don’t know all the details. But from what I’ve seen it’s almost too good to be true. Gotta give the feds credit on this one—it’s going to save a lot of people from going out of business.

This is going to be a challenge unlike any of us have seen in our lifetime (except maybe my 95 year old WW2 veteran grandfather). There won’t be a person out there that doesn’t know someone that is deeply affected by this.
Keep it going. There’s a reason we only have 4 confirmed cases. True, we are more isolated but also It’s because for the most part people up here are doing what they need to do. The virus in the community is going to grow, however, in the next coming couple weeks. It’s more critical than ever to stay home, stay distanced. How hard we get hit is going to be determined by how well we keep that up. God love you for your effort so far—-but don’t let up. The efforts I’ve listed above will take us deep into this. But if everyone takes their foot off the gas the chipmunks lose.
Take care. I’ll try to post when I can. These take awhile though. I Can’t do it daily. I gots work to do.

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