COVID-19 precautions still a necessity in Wright County

By: 
Kim Demory

As the State of Iowa, along with the entire nation, tries to get back to a “new normal” way of life, Iowa Specialty Hospital is reminding people that they still need to be proactive in protecting themselves against COVID-19.  It is a very real concern and it needs to be treated as such, especially now with businesses, restaurants, theaters and more being allowed to open back up to the public.

“All of the precautions that were put in place in late March in our area are actually more useful now,” said Dr. Michael McLoughlin with Iowa Specialty Hospital.  “Now is when there is community spread of COVID-19 that we have no idea how the patient acquired it.” 

Last week, Wright County was identified as one of the top three “hot spots” in Iowa (see separate story in this week’s edition) for COVID.  But despite the rising numbers of positive cases and exposures to the highly contagious disease, many people have become lax on the use of masks and social distancing as things continue to open up.

Iowa Specialty Hospital reports that they have had seven hospitalized patients with COVID and one of them was Life Flighted to another facility for treatment.

“If everyone would wear a mask and decrease contact with others, this would decrease the spread forcing the disease to die out.  But it only works if everyone does it,” said Dr. McLoughlin. “The one thing I wish I could really get people to understand is that if everyone did nothing more than wear a mask, we could decrease the spread of COVID by as much as  90%.  When a mask is worn, the particles can’t spread as far and aren’t able to enter the mucous membranes of others (eyes, nose, mouth). Doing this one thing, wearing a mask, would make a huge dent alone.”

On a positive note, Dr. McLoughlin also mentioned that they are seeing good results with convalescent plasma in patients that do have COVID.    He explained that this is simply taking the liquid part of the blood from a previously infected person and giving it to a patient who is currently infected. When your body is exposed to a foreign pathogen, your body’s response is to produce antibodies.  However in a sick individual, this can take time.  When a patient is given convalescent plasma, the antibodies in the donated plasma can recognize the infection and help the patient fight the virus quicker.  He also said that plasma treatment is actually a fairly common medical practice for some other diseases and so we know it’s safe.

Iowa Specialty Hospital doctors and staff strongly encourage you to be mindful of proper precautions - only go out if it is necessary, social distance, avoid large gatherings, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and stay home if you’re sick.  

Vinnette Frank, PA-C at Iowa Specialty Hospital added, “We’re seeing an increase of patients returning to the ER for issues that are non-emergent.  If you have an issue that can be handled in a clinic setting, please call your provider’s office.  Often many of those items could be taken care through a telehealth visit so you don’t have to be seen onsite at the hospital.  Not only is this convenient, it keeps you in a safe environment – your own home.”

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