As of Tuesday evening, we have over 418,000 reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 18,600 reported deaths. In Minnesota we now have 262 reported cases with one reported death, however the rate of growth in the reported cases is significant.
We have had two reported cases of COVID-19 in Saint Louis County so you need to be prudent and assume the virus is circulating within our community.
The conclusion is that we need to maintain social distancing for at least another couple of weeks. We can’t let ourselves get bored or complacent.
During the past week, we have had two major updates that we would like to summarize for you.
ECHC Will Only Be Performing Telehealth Evaluations through April 30, 2020
In order to protect the health and safety of our health care professionals and other volunteers, the Ely Community Health Center has decided to implement a Telehealth Only operation until April 30, 2020. You can arrange an appointment for an evaluation by following one of the following options.
Symptoms Potentially Related to COVID-19
If your concern is in regard to symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus, you have three options, all of which are generally without cost if the symptoms are associated with the COVID-19 virus.
- Visit the EssentiaHealth.org website and use the e-visit functionality. This will connect you to a medical provider who can discuss your symptoms and determine the best course of action that you should pursue to address your illness.
- Call the toll free hotline that Essentia has established. The number is (833) 494-0836.
- Call the Minnesota Department of Health’s public COVID-19 number which is (651) 201-3920.
Other Medical Evaluations and Basic Procedures
Should your need not be related to the COVID-19 virus and you wish to schedule a Telehealth evaluation by one of the ECHC medical providers during our normal weekly clinic hours, you can request an appointment either by:
- Completing the Telehealth Appointment request using the web based form at https://bit.ly/ECHCTelehealthAppointment, or
- Calling our voicemail at (218) 365-5678 and leaving your name, the date that you would like to have a Telehealth appointment and phone number to reach you.
Special Open Enrollment for Uninsured Minnesotans through April 21, 2020
Based on an executive order signed by Governor Walz if you do not have health insurance right now, you can get covered through MNsure. Apply by April 21.
Coverage will start Wednesday, April 1. (If you enroll after April 1 and by 11:59 p.m. on April 21, your coverage will have a retroactive start date of April 1.)
For help in applying for Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare or MNsure we can also accommodate this at a mutually agreed upon appointment and the conversation can occur either through our video conferencing platform or by a phone call to the phone number you provide us. To schedule an appointment for health insurance navigation please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (218) 365-5678.
Kiwanis Club Blood Drive
One of the critical needs we have in addressing the COVID-19 crisis is to obtain sufficient amounts of blood donations. The Kiwanis Club is sponsoring a blood drive here in Ely on Thursday April 16th from 9:30am to 5:30pm. The Kiwanis blood donation bus will be located in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen. You can schedule your appointment online at www.mbc.org (use the sponsor code 0877) or you can call B.J. Kobierski at (218) 365-4475. Your donation is critically important to our efforts.
How You Can Help During the COVID-19 Outbreak?
In addition to creating many public health problems, the outbreak has promoted the closing of our schools, many businesses and is straining all of our local resources. Here are some ways you can help.
Help the nonprofits
We have many nonprofit organizations locally who are in need of cash donations as well as volunteers. Some of the organizations who are critical to serving our local community and in need of assistance both in financial support and volunteers include:
The Ely Food Shelf - (218) 235-8527 or https://elyareafoodshelf.org/
Ely Community Resources - (218) 365-5254 or http://elycommunityresource.org/
Northwoods Partners - (218) 365-8019 or http://www.northwoodspartners.org/
And of course Ely Community Health Center - (218) 365-5678 or http://www.elycommunityhealth.org.
Help support our restaurants and cafes that have closed
Because of the executive order issued by Governor Walz, all of our local restaurants and cafes have been forced to close temporarily. While some of the restaurants are providing take out food service most of them are just closed at the present time, which is causing a significant strain on both the owners and the employees. If the restaurant or cafe is offering take out service, please consider buying some of your meals from them. Also please consider purchasing a gift card from the restaurant (which is like a zero interest loan to the restaurant) or making a donation to an organization dedicated to supporting the food service workers such as the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation which can be found at https://www.restaurantworkerscf.org.
Help to “Flatten The Curve”
One of the most important things everyone can help with is to protect yourself and others by practicing the CDC’s recommended guidance of washing your hands frequently, avoiding close contact by maintaining a six foot space between people, cover your coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces and stay at home if you have any symptoms of illness.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or (218) 365-5678.