As Clinton County continues to experience much higher rates in COVID-19 cases, the Clinton County Health Department and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese continue to raise public awareness and implore citizens to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As cases rise, so are the number of patients who require hospitalization. While St. Joseph’s Hospital is prepared for those needing care, we are urging the public to take COVID-19 seriously.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is only one facet of dealing with COVID-19 in the coming months. The effect of these patients can put additional strain on Emergency Departments. They take additional time and resources to deal with symptomatic patients, which impacts all patients coming to the ER for treatment. We must have the capacity to manage strokes, heart attacks and injuries for our communities, too.
“Having COVID-19 spreading in the community not only threatens the health of our family members and friends, but also our local health care facilities and workers, who are needed to care for others, said Brian Klostermann, MD for HSHS Medical Group and medical director for the health department. “Additionally, we cannot forget the effects of COVID on our schoolchildren. We must slow the spread to ensure our children can continue to attend school in person.”
In order for the alarming numbers to decrease, it will take a combined effort from everyone. Remember, asymptomatic carriers, by definition, never get sick or show symptoms, but they can still pass on the virus.
“In the spring, our hospitals were grateful by the outpouring of support for our healthcare workers. Now, with cases rising, following public health guidelines to help slow the spread is the best way for you to show support for our healthcare workers on the front lines, shared Chris Klay, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital. “The BEST way to support your community healthcare workers and ALL essential workers is to adhere to all safety guidelines.”
The health department and hospital need the public’s help in taking necessary actions to help slow the spread of the virus. This includes:
- Social distancing when outside the home
- Wearing a mask
- Washing hands frequently
- Avoid indoor gatherings for events, weddings, family and friend get-togethers, etc.
- Limit in-home gatherings to household members only
- Outdoor gatherings should be held with 10 persons or less and masks should be worn
- Stay home if you are sick
- Get a flu shot
It is strongly recommended for everyone to get a flu shot to help keep the overall illness down in our communities while we are still dealing with the current pandemic.
The public is urged to remember:
- Hospitals are here to serve their community
- Do not avoid going to a hospital, we are safe
- Continue with routine screenings, office visits, and wellness checks
- Be patient with healthcare workers, they are working long hours under stressful conditions
- Protect your community and all essential workers by wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands frequently, and avoiding large crowds.
- Stay home if you are ill.
As a reminder, please monitor your health for any of the following COVID symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
If you should begin to feel ill or have a COVID health concern, contact your physician for further guidance or you may contact the Clinton County Health Department at 618-594-2723 during business hours or 833-217-9525 after business hours.
For information on testing sites, please contact the Clinton County Health Department, or you can find a testing site offered by HSHS Medical Group by visiting https://hshsmgcovidtesting.org/.
Additional trusted sources for facts and information:
State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/
Illinois Department of Public Health: http://dph.illinois.gov/covid19
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
State of Illinois 24/7 COVID Hotline: 1-800-889-3931