Updated March 14, 2020
To: Swinomish Tribal Community Members
From:Sarah Wilborn, Swinomish Chief Medical Officer
Date: March 14, 2020
Subject: Health Priorities and Frequently Asked Questions
The Swinomish Medical Clinic is working to handle the COVID-19 virus outbreak with the same high quality, compassionate care that we strive for each day. We are working hard to ensure that the clinic continues to be a safe place to access care. As you hear more about COVID-19, please keep in mind:
- For now, the risk of contracting the virus is low in Skagit County.
- The majority of people (80%) who contract this virus experience MINOR illness that does not require medical assistance.
- Testing is very limited and only used for people with severe symptoms. Testing is happening according to federal (CDC) and state health guidelines. You will be hearing more from our tribal leaders about what is being done to combat the virus outbreak.
You will be hearing more from our tribal leaders about what is being done to combat the virus outbreak.
THE SWINOMISH MEDICAL CLINIC AND OTHER ESSENTIAL TRIBAL SERVICES REMAIN OPEN. We are also working to provide weekend coverage for medical consultations. If you have flu-like or respiratory symptoms, PLEASE CALL BEFORE COMING IN. In order to minimize contact with others in the clinic, we have procedures in place to evaluate your health condition by phone, or even in your car, prior to being seen in the clinic itself.
If you have flu-like or respiratory symptoms, PLEASE CALL BEFORE COMING IN. In order to minimize contact with others in the clinic, we have procedures in place to evaluate your health condition by phone, or even in your car, prior to being seen in the clinic itself.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS OR ANOTHER SEVERE RESPIRATORY INFECTION?
The bright side is there is forewarning and some time to prepare:
- People with symptoms of coronavirus (cough and fever of 100.4+ degrees) need to isolate themselves at home for at least seven days, or 72 hours (three days) after fever and other symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
- What you should buy ahead of time: tissue, acetaminophen (Tylenol) 325mg, and perhaps Mucinex or Robitussin with the active ingredient guaifenesin. Sudafed can be helpful, but be careful with it if you have high blood pressure. And watch out for acetaminophen as an added ingredient in cold medications because if you are also taking it on the side, you need to watch your dosing. You can safely take acetaminophen up to 1,000mg per dose or 3,000mg per 24 hours. Honey in tea has been proven to be helpful for cough and immunity as well.
- A humidifier is a good thing to consider, or if you have a wood stove, keep a pot of water on it to keep moisture in the air. You can also sit in your bathroom with the shower running on hot and breathe the steam.
- Make a pot of soup and put it in your freezer, and maybe make a pot to put in the freezer of an elder neighbor as well.
- If you have asthma and/or bronchitis, be sure you have an inhaler in the house that is not expired and have refills available. We have asked La Conner Drug to keep them in stock.
- If you live alone, arrange to have a family member, friend, or neighbor check on you daily.
- To treat your symptoms: For a high fever, you can rotate Tylenol and Advil every 2-3 hours. A wet washcloth on the skin is also helpful as the evaporating water takes heat with it. Use cough medicine if it is helpful, an inhaler if it is prescribed, DRINK A TON OF WATER, and REST.
- Isolate: If you can, isolate yourself away from other household members, and wear a mask when you are around them.
- Masks: The clinic is trying to get enough masks to pass out to households who have sick people living or staying in them.
- Stay home while you are sick: If you do not feel well, you should not leave your house unless you have to see a doctor. And if you do have to see a doctor, call ahead first and wear a mask if it is indicated you should come in.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM unless you are having trouble breathing or have a very high fever that is not responding to medication. If you decide you must go to the clinic, emergency room, or urgent care, call ahead or have someone call for you so on site medical staff are prepared to see you.
Most people can manage the symptoms of the virus on their own at home with over-the-counter medication. Hospitals are already crowded and beds are needed for the most critically ill. Remember, only a few people will develop serious symptoms.
Most children are handling COVID-19 with only mild symptoms for a few days. Use pediatric doses of the same over-the-counter medications mentioned above.
Social distancing can make people feel isolated or lonely. Keep your distance physically, but let your loved ones know you are there and love them with a text, phone call, or video chat.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, please call us at the Swinomish Medical Clinic at (360) 466-3167 if you have questions.
Thank you and take care of each other,
Sarah Wilborn, Chief Medical Officer
Swinomish Medical Clinic