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The Winter Covid-19 Surge

The Winter Covid-19 Surge, Rick DeTroye L.Ac. LLC in Northeast Portland, OR

"I read the news today, oh boy."
- John Lennon & Paul McCartney

Not too long ago, I met someone who questioned the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic. I had no idea how to respond. So I said nothing. As we approach 300,00 deaths nationally and 1,000 deaths in Oregon, I feel the need to speak up, both for your safety and mine. Because every time a patient comes in to see me, we're both rolling the dice, so to speak. We're each trusting the other has been wearing a mask, hand washing, socially distancing, staying at home, keeping to their social bubble, and most of all, hoping they're Covid-negative. We're also hopeful the people we've encountered daily in stores, at work, and on the street have been playing it safe. And wondering what the outcome may be for us if they haven't.

Oregon hospitals are ramping up for a possible onslaught of Covid-positive patients following Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve gatherings. Gatherings which were and still are recommended against, but many participated in and will participate in regardless of the outcome. Surge tents are being set up at Portland-area hospitals and refrigerated trailers have been brought in as makeshift morgues. It's appears we're anticipating a surge like last spring's in New York and that's sobering.

In October, I was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) in my right lower leg. Four veins, fully blocked. I'm being treated for it, but the cause is still to be determined. The leg will be reassessed in January. This is not a great time to have a clotting issue, as Covid-19 could lead to more severe clotting and complications. I don't want to catch Covid-19 and will avoid it any way I can.

So, I'm doing my best to provide a safe office environment for patients and myself. I clean each room after every treatment. Linens are changed, tables and all working surfaces are sanitized, pillow covers are replaced, door knobs and light switches are cleaned. Bathrooms are sanitized daily. I wear two masks while treating. I wash my hands repeatedly before, during, and after treatments, as well as use hand sanitizer between washes. My only mask-free, non-distanced interactions are with my wife. Five times since March I've met up with a friend for a masked, socially distanced walk or conversation. Other than that, my main contacts are with patients.

It's worth repeating that masking, social distancing, hand washing, and minimizing contact with people outside the home are still the standards of prevention and care during this pandemic. I encourage all of you to adhere to these guidelines, both for your health and the health of everyone you come into contact with, including those you love and care for. And including me.

Which brings me to some requests:

- If you're planning on attending holiday gatherings with people outside your immediate household or social bubble, please reconsider. These people may include children, grandkids, parents, other relatives and/or friends who don't live with you. If you do attend and you plan on scheduling an appointment, please let me know and allow at least ten days between that contact and your next appointment.

- If you've tested positive for Covid-19 and have an upcoming scheduled appointment, please contact me as soon as possible.

- If you have symptoms of an illness or even a suspicion of illness, and have an upcoming scheduled appointment, please contact me before your appointment.

- If you've been exposed to someone with Covid-19, whether you test positive or not, and have an upcoming scheduled appointment, please contact me before your appointment.

- If I treat you within ten days of developing symptoms of Covid-19, testing positive for it or suspecting you were exposed to it, please contact me as soon as possible.

- If you regularly spend time in a location outside your home where people don't wear masks and don't socially distance, please contact me before scheduling an appointment. These locations include work places, churches, restaurants, bars, gyms, and social gatherings, to name a few. All of these situations put both of us at increased risk.

- If you're spending time in a social bubble with people outside your home, please be very careful. I know two people with bubble mates who visited outside their bubbles. These bubble mates were exposed to Covid-19 by individuals during their "out of bubble experience", putting the people in their bubble at risk. Each of the people I know had to self-quarantine for two weeks and be tested twice before they could return to their regular activities.

- As a courtesy to me and other patients, please wear a mask that fits snugly over your face and will stay in place during appointments. It should cover both your nose and mouth comfortably and securely, and require minimal adjustment if any. The less touching of a mask, the better both for yourself and me.

I know people are encouraged by recent vaccine news. However, we're a ways off from vaccines being widely available to the general public. Undoubtedly, there will be numerous things to work out with delivery, effectiveness, and side-effects of these vaccines once they're released. In the meantime, we need to do what we can with our available resources to keep Covid-19 in check. Hopefully, clear-headedness and good decision-making will guide us in utilizing these resources.

I believe all of us are caring people and concerned for everyone's welfare. I appreciate everyone's continued efforts to stay healthy and help others do the same. I just felt the need to voice my concerns, to reinforce good practice of personal safety, and to restate the parameters I hope we're all striving toward during this pandemic.

Think smart, reduce your risks. And may we all stay healthy!