In a continuing effort to prevent the spread of viral illnesses Plessen Healthcare updates procedures and makes the following community recommendations:
ST CROIX, USVI, March 15, 2020 – In our continuing efforts to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and to protect our community, healthcare professionals and staff, Plessen Healthcare will continue to provide both medical and surgical services but will implement the following important precautions and procedural changes at our Orange Grove Medical Campus:
- Patients coming to the Medical and Surgical Center will need to be physically separated to reduce the risk of transmission.
- In order to avoid aggregation in the waiting rooms, we request that ALL patients stay outside and maintain sufficient separation.
- Our staff will come to you and assess your needs.
- If you are symptomatic, we will provide you with a mask and may ask you to wait in your car or in a sequestered seat until you are brought to a designated examination area. We will utilize outside examination areas for symptomatic patients and possibly evaluate patients in their cars if needed.
- Non-symptomatic patients will be brought in and asked to sterilize their hands before being brought into an examination room.
- As has been our standard practice since inception, we will continue to follow our internal Infection Control policies and procedures, including disinfection of the examination rooms between visits.
- We ask that our patients, especially those over 65 and those with chronic illnesses, consider changing their appointments to a Telemedicine visit with their provider. Our staff will call you ahead of your scheduled appointment for you to consider this option and to help with instructions on how to use Telemedicine.
Flatten the Curve:
The term “flatten the curve” refers to measures taken, as soon as possible, to lower the rate of infection and transmission of the virus to avoid taxing the healthcare infrastructure with a spike of patients in need of medical attention all at one time.In order to slow down the spread of COVID-19, we recommend members of the community consider practicing social separation and decrease physical interactions whenever possible for the next 15 days.
If we can collectively slow down the rate of transmission, we hope to curb the spread of this illness and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system and hospital on St Croix.
“The reason behind this is to slow down the rate of transmission and the amount of new sick people per week. In this way the healthcare infrastructures can be better prepared to take care of the ones that get sick. If we are overrun with a large group of severely ill people, we will not be able to tend to everyone in need appropriately” states Plessen Healthcare founder, Dr. Jan Tawakol.
Understanding that every individual needs to maintain a living, complete social distancing will be difficult. However, every small measure can have a great impact down the road and help to keep the balance of the volume of people in need to the capacities of our healthcare systems.
Understanding the Stages and Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection:
- The incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to be within 14 days following exposure, with most cases occurring approximately four to five days after exposure
- The virus first settles in the throat, causing inflammation and a dry throat sensation in some patients: this symptom can last 3 to 4 days.
- The virus then travels down in the airways, descends into the trachea, and settles into the lungs, causing pneumonia. According to the WHO, recovery time appears to be around two weeks for mild infections and three to six weeks for severe disease.
- Pneumonia presents often with high fever and difficulty breathing.
- If you feel like you are choking or short of breath contact your doctor immediately.
What You Can Do to Help Reduce Transmission:
- Prepare for a 15-day self-sequestration at home with the necessary groceries and supplies.
- Wipe down your surroundings daily with an anti-septic cleaning product, particularly high-touch areas like doorknobs and handles, faucets and counters.
- Wipe down high-touch appliances and devices, like computer keyboards and mobile devices.
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, even if you did not come into contact with anyone.
- Do not share utensils, glasses, plates and foods. Keep your towels and bed sheets separate.
- Cover your sneezes and coughs appropriately.
- Check in with your family, friends and neighbors with FaceTime, Skype or other social media application. Have a Skype party!
Tips for Reducing Viral Load and Boosting Your Immune System:
- Gargle with your choice of antiseptic mouthwash or warm water with salt to minimize the amount of virus that could enter your throat.
- Make sure to keep the throat moist, drink a few sips of water at least every 15 to 20 minutes. Avoid ice water, opt for room temperature.
- Consider Influenza and Pneumovax vaccinations.
- Take supplements to strengthen your immune system.
- Higher doses of Vitamin C than the daily recommended allowance may help to boost your immune response. Patients with kidney issues should avoid taking more than 500 mg daily.
- Supplement with Vitamins D and E as well as Zinc.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Drink warm or even hot beverages and teas. Use some honey.
- If you are able, get moderate exercise and sunshine while practicing social distancing.
Consider utilizing higher temperatures to curb the virus:The COVID-19 virus is heat sensitive, however environmental temperatures likely will not destroy it and higher temperatures are needed. Some measures may help you at home:
- Consider sterilizing your home utensils in hot water. Use a dishwasher with heating cycle if available.
- Wash your clothes in hot water.
- Practice steam therapy, up to three times per day if needed: Prepare a steaming bowl of hot water with chamomile, herbs or essential oils of your choice. Place your face over the bowl with a towel over your head to capture the steam. This is especially helpful if you notice sinus issues.
Please consult with your physician if you have any medical issues or questions before you expose yourself to any of these possible preventative measures.
At Plessen: We continue to urge patients to utilize Plessen Healthcare’s Telemedicine option instead of visiting the office whenever possible.
To make an appointment please call 340-715-7720, contact us via our website plessenhealthcare.com/contact or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
At the time of this press release there has been 1 documented case of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), in the US Virgin Islands. For the most up to date information contact the VI Department of Health or refer to cdc.gov for daily updates.
About Plessen Healthcare, LLC
Plessen Healthcare, LLC. was founded on St Croix, US Virgin Islands in 2014 by Dr. Jan Tawakol and Dr. Tasnim Khan, on the fundamental belief that world class health care should be accessible to everyone. The Plessen campus includes a full-service, multi-specialty medical clinic and the only CMS accredited surgical center in the USVI. Plessen is committed to affordable, accountable and efficient healthcare and is centrally located within the Caribbean for easy travel from down island, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the U.S. mainland.