Welcome back and be safe
by Dr. Thomas Bracken
Infection Prevention Medical Director, MLHS
We at Mille Lacs Health System are happy to welcome back our friends, neighbors and patients that have been away from the Mille Lacs area for the last few months, whether it be due to our severe winter or to the COVID-19 virus crisis.
We have been busy preparing for the inevitable arrival of COVID-19 virus in our community. All local health systems have Incident Command teams in place making plans to keep their facilities prepared and safe for patients that do contract the virus and also safe for patients that are free of the virus but still need their regular health care. If you visit a local clinic or hospital, you will find yourself “screened” for symptoms (cough, fever, new shortness of breath) and you will be asked to wear a mask within the facility. MLHS has the ability to do tests for the virus and for the antibodies to the virus.
We have not yet seen the numbers of this virus that have been seen across the country. This is not because we are an oasis, and it is not because we do not yet have this disease here at all. All local hospitals have seen cases of this virus, and we have had at least one local fatality. The arrival has been delayed a bit as we have a relatively low population density and because the State of Minnesota was quick to require “social distancing” – closed schools, closed non-essential businesses, and sheltering in place.
The computer models for our area predict that we will start to see increases in numbers of cases of viral illness in mid to late June; the peak incidence of cases will be sometime in August to September. It’s just starting.
So please go ahead and enjoy our wonderful Mille Lacs area. Many of our restaurants offer tasty take-out meals; enjoy them and support these businesses. Some restaurants are opening soon with precautions being taken for social distancing; please respect this for your health and for the health of their workers. Many of our businesses are open and are also taking appropriate precautions to protect you and their employees. You can also trust your local hospitals and clinics to keep you safe for the health care you need.