By Toyosi Olutade, MD, UnityPoint Health – Trinity, Chief Medical Officer
As communities begin to reopen, it is important to remember that COVID-19 is still here, there is no vaccine or proven treatment, and we must all continue taking the proper precautions to stay safe and protect others. It is important, now more than ever, to social distance and take other safety precautions to protect ourselves, our family members and those around us from contracting COVID-19. This is especially true for members of our communities of color who are being disproportionately impacted by this virus.
Data from communities across the country and here at home shows COVID-19 is affecting Hispanic and African Americans who are more vulnerable and at higher risk of complications due to several risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, and limited access to care. These challenges increase the risk of negative outcomes when coupled with COVID-19 if proper measures are not taken to reduce the risk of exposure.
It’s extremely important for everyone in the Quad Cities and Muscatine community to follow guidance on ways to stay safe in this new world of COVID-19. Please continue to social distance by staying six feet or more away from others, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow to prevent spreading of the virus. Masking is also crucial when you can’t maintain a 6-foot distance between others. It may be tempting to bend the rules as we see others begin to resume normal activities but remaining vigilant is the only way we know to keep the virus from spreading to you or others.
While we fight COVID-19, other health issues continue and it’s important to know that accessing care is safe as we reopen many of our services. UnityPoint Health has taken every precaution possible to protect our patients, care teams and the community during this difficult time. We are isolating patients with COVID-19 from other health care operations, cleaning and sanitizing our facilities, wearing masks in every hospital and clinic, restricting visitors and screening for symptoms, and rearranging public spaces to allow for social distancing. Many of our clinics are also using a Virtual Waiting Room so you may remain in your care until your appointment. Delaying necessary and routine care can have major consequences on health outcomes, cause more emergent health concerns, increase the cost of care, and can have long-term effects on the quality of life. It’s important to receive the care you need when you need it.
We must all do our part and taking these extra precautions and continuing to address health concerns as they arise is a great way to do that. More information is available at unitypoint.org. If you have other questions, please contact your healthcare provider. UnityPoint Health – Trinity is committed to doing all we can to protect our community and reduce the risk of exposure. Thank you for partnering with us and we look forward to being there when you need us for your health care needs.