So I’m not going to do my usual update with a lot of numbers. I think everyone is somewhat numb to them at this point and the grim reality is easily found if you’re looking for that.
In fact we are seeing a lot of people in the clinic, talking to people on the phone, who are getting overwhelmed with news. It is absolutely a lot to manage, emotionally and mentally. And I fear a mental health crisis is the next big part of this pandemic that we will see, especially as the need for social distancing drags on.
So if you feel yourself in that situation, and you are feeling overwhelmed, I have a solution for you—-don’t read about it. Don’t watch it. Don’t listen to it.
It’s not going to change a thing in terms of your health, your future, your risk, your outcome.
You know what you need to do. Keep doing it. Don’t stop until someone from OUR hospital or health department tells you it’s ok.
Put the news feed on the phone or other internet source down and don’t watch the news. Right now, It’s mostly going to be bad. Ask someone else to give you a summary. Otherwise keep your head down and start another book or take a walk. You can’t let this overwhelm you to the point of despair. We are seeing some of that. Better to just play ostrich, stay home, and ride it out than feel like you can’t deal with it anymore. Depression and it’s subsequent apathy can be really dangerous right now. So focus on the positives in your life and insulate for awhile.

The numbers I do want to talk about are the Up North numbers. The 10-county Munson area has 55 people in the community positive, 10 confirmed hospitalized across the 3 hospitals and 13 hospitalized suspected and pending. Those are as of today.
Those are manageable numbers for the system right now and compared to downstate are obviously way less. But I also think there is a lot more of this out there that hasn’t been tested. Plus the tests aren’t perfect and there are probably a fair number of false negatives. The next two weeks are going to be absolutely life and death critical.

Those numbers will explode if we stop the distancing that has been so far locally pretty good. Hope springs eternal that our regional increases will remain relatively flat and slow but you HAVE to keep it up. Do NOT think we are ok because there are still relatively modest numbers up here. It does not take much of a breakdown to minimize everything everyone is doing. If we do this half-assed it won’t be much different than if we did it at all. It has to be a full buy-in by everyone. Nothing is going to change on this until we can test the crap out of people. And though the shortages of tests are improving there are as many setbacks as gains, it seems. So we wait and stay home. Yes it sucks. But it sure as hell beats what’s happening in Detroit and its suburbs.

The picture I posted today are some masks made by Jan Ransom, a PT at our practice, who dropped them off for us today. We’ve had a lot of questions about masks. People want to know if they should wear one when they go out.
My answer is yes. You should.
I’m going to start to do that the rare times I’ll go to a store, and I wear a surgical mask all day at work.
For one, that’s what the South Koreans did and, combined with the very extensive testing they’ve been able to deploy, and strict quarantine of known pts, they are winning.
Also you don’t need to have an N-95 mask for you to get a much increased level of protection from a mask. We really only need those in the highest risk situations, working with known Covid pts. Do you know what ‘N-95’ means btw? It’s not the serial number to order them from JC Penney. It means that the mask is able to filter 95% of particles that are 3 microns or more in size.
The virus is a 1 micron sized particle. So why do they work? Don’t the viruses squeak thru? And How can a cotton mask work if it’s not rated anywhere near as good as an N95?
Two reasons. 1). The virus travels in droplets. Snot and spit. And poo. Gross, right? But that’s how it gets around. And snot drops are usually much much bigger than 3 microns. Hell, you can even see them sometimes. They are often huge comparatively. And therefore at least partially stopped by the mask.
2). The mask has an even more basic function which is even more important—-it forces you to NOT TOUCH YOUR DAMN FACE. Hey, I’m guilty too. We all are. We touch our faces literally hundreds of times a day. And THAT’S how this thing gets in you. You touch a virus-laden snot droplet on a surface, then eat something, use a chapstick, pick your nose, or rub your eye and BOOM that’s how it enters. (This is why we tell you, too, to wash your hands!)
So my advice is use the mask to forcibly avoid touching your face. Anything will really work. A mask like one of these pictured is probably the most comfortable (and so stylish, thank you Jan). A painters mask, a balaclava, a bandanna, a Teenage Mutant Turtle Halloween costume. I don’t care
Just don’t. Touch. Your. Face. Until. You’ve. Washed. Your. Hands.

Enough for today.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay home.

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