Bay County Updates on COVID-19

As our community struggles to get back to some semblance of normal after the disaster of Michael, healthcare professionals find ourselves again wrestling with the chaos addressing basic healthcare needs.  These are unprecedented times, and like our patients, many of us as physicians are trying to find a way to deliver even basic healthcare needs. We struggle with questions of priority, as we attempt to figure out how to keep our patients safe and healthy.  The silver lining is that by now, we as healthcare providers are well versed in dealing with challenging healthcare delivery. Relative to the challenges of Michael, we feel better prepared to face the adversity of COVID-19.

We have a strong Medical Association which does an amazing job of keeping both providers and patients abreast of the current Pandemic situation. We encourage everyone to visit our website and Facebook page for the latest updates and information. The rapid evolution of this process requires excellent communication and proactive thought processes.

With the recent ‘Stay at home’ (Executive Order 20-91) by Gov. Desantis, we want our patients to know that staying at home does not mean that you should disregard your healthcare needs and concerns. Take care of yourself! Your physician can address many healthcare needs (refills, questions, concerns) via remote telecommunication. We want you to continue taking regular medications and if you need refills, contact your physician.

If you feel sick and are concerned that you have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your primary care physician and initiate further instruction.  Do not go to the ER, or Urgent care clinic until you contact your primary care provider and are told to do so. If you don’t have a primary care provider, contact Michelle Flaat at michelle@flmedical.org or 850-819-8273 and she can help direct you to the appropriate provider.

If you have routine healthcare appointments pending, contact your provider or visit their website to seek guidance as to the best course of action.  Many providers will see you remotely, or perhaps reschedule your appointment depending on acuity. Do your best to stay healthy by washing your hands regularly, avoiding contact with others, and sanitizing objects that are frequently touched (i.e. cell phones, door handles). And of course, be vigilant about Social Distancing!

COVID-19 Patient Need-to-Know Summary:

Do:

  • Continue taking all prescribed medication.
  • Keep existing appointments (within the next 8 weeks), BUT, contact your physician or visit their websites/social media, prior to your scheduled appointment to see whether you can (or should) keep the appointment.
  • Remember that many healthcare needs can/may be addressed remotely via facetime or other similar apps.
  • If you need an appointment call your provider to schedule as necessary.
  • Wash your hands, and clean high traffic areas regularly.
  • Practice Social Distancing!

Do Not:

  • Neglect your healthcare needs due to quarantine.  We can help!
  • Go to the ER/Urgent Care if you are worried you may have COVID-19 without contacting your primary physician first (obviously if your healthcare situation is emergent take appropriate measures).
  • Underestimate the importance of your mental health!

Finally, remember not only to take care of your body but especially in times like these, take care of your mental health!  As our homes have now become our schools and offices, stress does not begin to explain the emotional obstacles we face during this challenging time.  Set aside designated exercise time, prayer/meditation time, and family communication time to ensure your well-being. There are many resources available and we are fortunate to have them set up and ready as mental health providers have been equipped to handle the Hurricane Michael mental health crisis already.  Focus on positive and uplifting thoughts, but don’t ever hesitate to ask for help if you feel like you could use support. Our community and strong, even stronger since overcoming the adversity and come out stronger. Together we will overcome this Pandemic, and again, be fortified as a country when all is said and done.