Long before the first COVID-19 patients entered local hospitals, the team at Mercyhealth was preparing for a pandemic.
Elective surgeries were placed on hold; hospital visitors were restricted; and physician appointments were moved online, when possible.
“It’s quite striking to me that we have staff from our clinics who are willing to come into the hospital to help out if there’s a surge that’s beyond our typical capacity,” says Dr. John Dorsey, chief medical officer at Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital. “I’ve even had retired physicians calling to help out. People really want to do something.”
There are many ways for the public to help speed along our recovery.
Basic hygiene goes a long way. Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Social distancing and wearing a mask in public can help you to avoid the respiratory droplets that spread this virus.
Consider scheduling doctor appointments virtually, with tools like Mercyhealth’s Virtual Visit, which allows you to check in from a smartphone or computer.
Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital, with two campuses in Rockford, offers two dedicated infection units and additional capacity, should the need arise.
It’s important to remember that COVID-19 can affect anyone of any age, but is particularly harmful to people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions. Younger and healthier people shouldn’t be careless, says Dorsey.
“What’s important for the public to know is that our ability to handle this pandemic is there,” he says. “But you have a great control over whether the surge happens. Everyone needs to take this seriously. The best treatment for this, right now, is social avoidance and personal responsibility, and making sure people adhere to these precautions. We’re here to help, but we’d rather you not need us because you did everything you could to prevent it.”
A COVID-19 phone hotline, (833) 648-0057, is staffed by medical experts who can answer questions. A symptom checker is also available online at mercyhealthsystem.org.
Mercyhealth maintains hospitals in Janesville, Walworth, Wis., Rockford and Harvard, Ill., and has several clinics in McHenry County. ❚