Gerber Memorial invites community to use outpatient lab at Tamarac, in Newaygo
FREMONT, April 17, 2020 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial today invited the community to continue using outpatient lab services available at Tamarac in Fremont and in Newaygo for non-COVID-19-related tests. Walk-in services are available, and no appointment is required.
Gerber Memorial’s outpatient lab in Fremont is temporarily relocated to Tamarac, at 1401 W. Main St. Hours for the lab at Tamarac are 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
The outpatient lab in Newaygo is located at the Gerber-Memorial Family Medicine-Newaygo building, located at 211 W. Pine Lake Dr. Hours for the Newaygo outpatient lab are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Walk-ins are welcome. For more information or questions: 231-924-1363, option 1.
COVID-19 SCREENING: Spectrum Health’s phone and virtual screening options are available to help those who have symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus. The purpose is to prevent the spread of illness by enabling people to seek the information they need from their homes, while making it easy and convenient for them. Spectrum Health advises people to take the following steps from their home:
A screening is not a test. It is the first step in possibly being tested as testing requires an appointment and physician order. Anyone with life-threatening and serious medical emergencies should call 9-1-1 immediately.
Troop 4771 wants to make a difference
Story by Krystan Krucki
In the wake of the 2020 Coronavirus-19 pandemic, with food flying off grocery store shelves but donations to food banks plummeting, a frightful uncertainty of where their family’s next meal is coming from affects more families than ever.
When considering the impact COVID-19 was having on their area, the idea of food insecurity was intolerable to Girl Scout Troop 4771, a Junior level troop from Grant, Michigan. Seeing a need in their hometown sparked a desire to make a difference.
“We come from a low income county and people might not have food because of COVID-19 and not being able to work,” said troop member Cristyann Hilden. “We wanted to be able to help others as soon as crops start to grow.”
Indeed, according to the latest US Census documentation, Michigan’s Newaygo County had a poverty rate of 15.6%, a number that is higher than the national average of 13.1%. The largest demographic living in poverty in Newaygo County are Females 45 - 54, followed by Females 25 - 34 and then Females 35 - 44. Food from any source, but particularly locally grown produce could be a help to many in their county, especially women.
To begin the fight against food insecurity while maintaining the government issued social distancing protocol in place at the time the troop utilized Messenger Kids, a safe messaging application from Facebook, and began educating themselves on what is involved with planting and growing food.
“As a troop I taught the girls about what kind of weather, climate and environment that we need to have to help these crops and plants grow,” said Troop Leader Roxanne Stay. “We also learned about the water cycle, plant nutrition and the various responsibilities that go into caring for a garden.”
As of April 2020, the troop has made progress with one troop member building a raised garden bed and another has rototilled a field with the help of her father. They are conducting research into local distributors who can sell seeds and plants, and hope to grow snap peas, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and flowers.
Troop member Faith Patin explained that they feel this project is important because the food they grow will be healthier than what people may buy in a store, will taste better and, at the end of the day, help people survive.
Troop member Amelia Stay says that since her school closed on March 16, 2020, her life has been changed by not being able to see extended family and friends, but understands that the shelter-in-place orders have a much greater impact on some.
“Some people are happy to spend time with loved ones, but others are having their routine disrupted, struggling with mental and physical problems and going hungry because of a lack of access to food,” she said.
Being able to participate in this project allows her to engage in one of her favorite parts of Girl Scouts, helping the community.
Servicing 33 counties in Western and Northern Michigan, Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore (GSMISTS) not only has an impact on girls, but on entire communities. They provide the support needed to encourage young girls to think big and make a difference. Girls like Amelia, Cristyann, Faith and their fellow troop members are a representation of all GSMISTS girls who use their intelligence and heart to make their community a better place.
Delayed treatment poses real danger to heart patients
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 14, 2020 – New research has determined that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 can do alarming damage to the heart. In fact, one out of five patients with COVID-19 experience heart damage, according to a study published in March in JAMA Cardiology.
People already diagnosed and suffering from heart disease have increased concerns about their risk, in light of the current health crisis.
David Wohns, MD, division chief, cardiology, Spectrum Health, has answered several of the most commonly asked questions.
Should people with heart disease be particularly concerned about COVID-19 and, if so, why?
We know COVIID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness that spreads from person-to-person in a highly contagious manner and impacts individuals in different ways. For people with underlying heart conditions, the infection can be more serious with a greater chance of hospitalization and even death. This is especially true for those over 65 years of age with coronary disease or hypertension. These individuals are both more likely to become infected and more likely to develop severe symptoms. While we know everyone needs to follow precautions during this pandemic, it is especially important for these individuals to strictly follow recommendations for social distancing, hand washing, staying at home and avoiding gatherings. They should also seek medical treatment immediately when experiencing concerning symptoms such as shortness of breath.
What recommendations do you have for your heart patients? Any special precautions?
The basic guidelines are the foundation of prevention. Patients with cardiovascular disease should make sure they are current with available vaccinations, including the pneumococcal vaccine. We agree with the CDC which recommends wearing cloth face coverings in any public setting. This includes all outings, whether to the grocery store or the pharmacy.
When should a patient reach out to their provider for help?
This is an important question as we are seeing a dramatic drop internationally in the number of patients with heart attacks or other cardiovascular conditions. We are very worried people are staying home or not seeking attention for a variety of reasons. It may be that people are concerned about going to a hospital. However, not getting prompt, proper treatment can result in long term consequences or even death. One of the hallmark symptoms of COVID-19 is shortness of breath, which is also a symptom of heart disease.
My recommendation is that any person with prior heart disease or at risk of heart disease who is experiencing chest symptoms or shortness of breath reach out to their primary care physician or cardiovascular provider for guidance as soon as possible.
How or when is telehealth the right option?
Always call 911 if your symptoms are serious. However, teleheath, such as Spectrum Health Now, is an excellent option for heart patients not experiencing a need for immediate critical care. Telehealth is an easy and effective way to receive an evaluation from the comfort and safety of your own home.
What is the risk of avoiding or delaying potential treatment?
The risk to patients avoiding or delaying potential treatment for heart issues can be significant and even life threatening. The risk of delayed treatment for a heart attack is the most serious. Heart attacks are life-threatening events and early treatment with stents not only saves lives but reduces the amount of permanent damage to the heart. We have a saying that “time is muscle” when it comes to early treatment of heart attacks. We want to ensure our patients in this COVID-19 period do not misinterpret heart symptoms as something else. If you have any questions, I strongly urge you to call your primary care physician or heart specialist right away.
More information about COVID-19 is posted on the Spectrum Health website.
This event will take place via Zoom. If you'd like to join this meeting to hear the talk, email Jill Hansen-Aune at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will then receive an email from Erick before the event takes place with the link and password to join.
You must have the Zoom app downloaded before you join the meeting, and please make sure your microphone is muted. I will post a video in the discussion of this event about how to use Zoom--it's very easy.
Water is essential for life. Yet, our behavior and actions can compromise this precious resource. This virtual, interactive presentation will cover past and present water issues and allow for ample conversation. Erick Elgin from MSU Extension will incorporate ideas from the books, A Sand County Almanac, Silent Spring, and The Lorax into the conversation. More info: https://www.fremontlibrary.net/adults/live-the-library
Resources include web page in Spanish and materials in five additional languages
Grand Rapids, Mich., April 13, 2020 – Spectrum Health today announced it has updated its website to include a web page in Spanish with downloadable materials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Spanish-speaking community members are encouraged to visit www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19-in-spanish to access the resources.
The site includes a video message from Guillermo Cisneros, executive director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Juan Carlos Hernandez, senior specialist in talent acquisition for Spectrum Health. It also includes resources for the community, including a section called “COVID-19: Information, Symptoms and Prevention,” and the latest information on testing and treating the virus.
“COVID-19 is impacting all the communities we serve, and it is important that our messaging touch as many people as possible,” said Darryl Elmouchi, MD, MBA, chief medical officer, Spectrum Health System, and president, Spectrum Health Medical Group.
Spectrum Health is also working to offer its online symptom checker and screening chat tool in Spanish. These tools can be found at: www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19.
Spectrum Health is in the process of updating additional COVID-19 information in the six languages most requested for translation and interpreting: Spanish, Vietnamese, Kinyarwanda, Burmese, Swahili and American Sign Language. This information also can be found at www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19.
“We hope these materials from Spectrum Health and other reputable sources will equip our communities with accurate information that will inform, ease anxiety and help prevent the spread of the disease,” Elmouchi said.
Spectrum Health continues to offer free virtual COVID-19 screenings to those who have symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus. The purpose is to prevent the spread of illness by enabling people to seek the information they need from their homes, while making it easy and convenient for them.
People in Michigan who are experiencing symptoms can get screened by calling Spectrum Health’s hotline at 833.559.0659 or by using Spectrum Health’s virtual chat found on www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19 .
Spectrum Health providers will determine if a person needs further evaluation and, if so, provide instructions for specimen collection. Anyone with severe or life-threatening symptoms should call 911.
Free interpreting and translation services are offered to Spectrum Health patients for their health care needs. For more information, please contact the Spectrum Health Language Services department at: Language.email@example.com.
Lower numbers on Sundays may represent less weekend testing
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released the following statement about today’s update of COVID-19 case and death statistics.
Although a reduced number of COVID-19 cases are being reported today (April 12), 645 cases compared to 1,210 reported on April 11, and deaths, 95 compared to 111 on April 11, we cannot say if this represents a true decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths in our state.
Reported case counts may reflect a reduction in the amount of laboratory testing performed over the weekend and holiday. Single day fluctuations in the number of confirmed cases may not be significant, as a number of external factors can affect data reporting.
Although there is a limited amount of data to compare, previous testing reports have illustrated consistent Sunday decreases with some being as high as a 25 percent reduction over the previous day. Sunday, March 22 had a 25 percent drop in reported tests. Sunday, March 29 saw a 3 percent drop in reported tests. Sunday, April 5 saw a 25 percent drop in reported tests.
Please note that these represent the date that the laboratory sent the information, not the date of onset of symptoms for the cases which would precede this date and is collected during the public health response to these referrals.
By Katie Wemple, Wraparound Coordinator, Newaygo County Mental Health
Do you need some ideas of what you can do with your children? Are you craving something different? How about an A-Z activity list to help you get through your day, week or even month.
This is the first in a series of articles from staff members of Newaygo County Mental Health.
NCMH has been serving the community since 1972 providing a wide spectrum of services to people in need.
You can contact them at 231.689.7330 or 800.968.7330
With social distancing the new norm due to the COVID-19 pandemic individuals who might struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can access help through the resources above.
Action in response to COVID-19 outbreak
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 4, 2020 – Spectrum Health is taking steps to conserve its supply of personal protection equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, by adopting disinfection practices from clinical and research teams across the country.
Aerosolized hydrogen peroxide and heat are being used to disinfect N95 masks between shifts. Goggles, face shields and other hard surface items will be sanitized using ultraviolet light.
To date, the N95 mask use has grown significantly due to COVID-19 and will only increase as the pandemic continues. By implementing these processes, Spectrum Health hopes to preserve its supply of PPE tenfold given national shortages.
“We know we have to help support our clinicians, keeping them safe, so they can care for our patients and our community during this pandemic,” said Kurt Knoth, vice president of supply chain, Spectrum Health. “We formed incredible innovative partnerships, both internally and externally, to help achieve this goal.”
Gentex is one of those partners, donating four ovens which are used for heat disinfection.
Spectrum Health is still accepting medical supply donations. Locations and hours can be found here.
Coverage Available After Job Loss, Income Change
LANSING - Michiganders who lose a job, resulting in a loss of their healthcare coverage or a change in income, may have low or no-cost healthcare options available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Consumers in these situations are not required to wait for the yearly Open Enrollment Period and should act now.
Consumers have 60 days after losing essential health coverage, such as through a job loss, or experienced a change in income to take advantage of a Special Enrollment Period. To determine eligibility, consumers should visit www.healthcare.gov. Depending on income and their situation, consumers may qualify for cost sharing reductions, premium tax credits, coverage for their children (CHIP), or Medicaid. Consumers should contact the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) toll free at 877-999-6442 if they need assistance.
“If consumers have questions about enrolling, DIFS is available to assist.” said DIFS Director Anita G. Fox.
Act now and apply