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COVID down a bit at CCMH but other illnesses keep hospital busy

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Rasmussen explains new CDC guidelines

“We’re seeing lots of sick people from all sorts of things, not just COVID,” said Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) President and CEO Erin Muck.

She said CCMH is not overwhelmed with COVID cases, but regional hospitals are out of ICU beds and transferring patients who need a higher level of care is not easy.

“It’s not all just COVID,” said Heather Rasmussen, CCMH executive director of care integration.

“We’ve had people not seek their healthcare for two years now, and now we’re seeing a lot more sick people – in pediatrics with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and other respiratory illnesses.”

Muck encouraged individuals to wear a mask around others, wash their hands regularly and social distance when possible.

“Taking good care of yourself is probably key right now,” she said.

The two-week COVID-19 positive test rate at CCMH was 14.3% as of Monday, which was down from 15.2% last week, Rasmussen said.

The seven-day rate was 13%, down from 15.4% a week ago.

Rasmussen noted that those numbers may be skewed by the recent holidays and the fact that the CCMH clinic was closed for a Friday and a Saturday during that period.

CCMH had one hospitalized COVID patient as of Monday.

The hospital does not have the ability to distinguish between variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID.

“We just know they have COVID,” Rasmussen said.

She sought to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the recent change to CDC guidelines for individuals who test positive for COVID-19.

“Currently, for the general population, after five days, if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving, they could come out of isolation but it is highly recommended that they continue to wear a mask when they’re around people for the next five days,” Rasmussen said.

“What they’re saying is you’re most infectious 48 hours before your test –when you’ve come down with symptoms – and your infectious period is 48 hours prior, to 48 to 72 hours after.”

By day five, individuals could still be shedding the virus but they may not be infectious, she said.

Healthcare workers may return to work after seven days if asymptomatic, or have improvement of symptoms, but most continue to wear a mask for 10 to 14 days when around people, she said.

Don Luensmann, CCMH executive director of Marketing and Development, said CCMH expects to see cycles of rising and falling COVID cases in the future.

“We will probably continue to see this cycle until there is some kind of break – however that happens – either through some other new treatment or herd immunity,” he said.

“It’s been two years and I think it’s been a pretty long haul. We would like to be able to say there’s an end in sight to this but today that would not be true. So we’re just asking everyone to be patient, to continue to do their best to protect themselves, their families, their coworkers, and their loved ones. Together we’re going to make it to the end – we just don’t know when that will be.”

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