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TMH releases new recommendations as area faces potential of "significant surge" in COVID-19 cases

Community urged to take pandemic seriously
Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare
Posted at 7:29 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 11:55:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare has released new, more stringent recommendations after projecting the potential of "a significant surge" in hospitalizations due to coronavirus cases.

In a letter penned to Big Bend residents Tuesday evening, Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare sent a clear message to the community: The power to control the spread of COVID-19 is in your hands.

"Dear Big Bend Residents," the letter posted to the organization's website began, "As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across our region, we need you to take the pandemic seriously in order to slow its spread."

According to the letter, TMH officials have utilized a predictive model that calculates COVID-19 case projections. The model, called CHIME (COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model of Epidemics), was developed by the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

After inputting their information, officials say projections show the potential for "a significant surge of up to several hundred hospital admissions each day."

"These numbers are concerning, and we recognize the possibility that just one large gathering where COVID-19 is present has the potential to overload our ability to care for our community," TMH wrote in the letter.

To curb that potential surge, TMH is asking for the community's help. While medical professionals are pledging to do their part, they say the community's collective actions have the power to control the spread of the virus.

While TMH says they support the protocols put in place by the CDC as well as local and state governments, they are pushing their recommendations even further.

TMH recommends that you adhere to the below guidelines based on clinical guidance from their leading medical experts:

1. All residents should stay home at all times, except for when engaging in essential activities as outlined in the Florida stay-at-home order. We would like to take these guidelines a step further by offering additional recommendations that have been clinically clarified as best practices for our community and beyond.

  • a) While religious congregations are not legally prevented from meeting, we strongly recommend those wishing to worship find alternative forums that do not involve meeting physically.
  • b) Whenever possible, restrict access to your home only to members of your immediate household.
  • c) While outdoor recreation is not an essential activity, it can be permissible if you restrict the activity to only members of your household and maintain a strict 6-foot distance from any other individuals you may encounter while outside of your home.
  • d) Even when adhering to these guidelines, each essential outing presents an exposure risk. Be mindful to limit essential outings as much as possible.

2. Any individual who has symptoms of respiratory illness should immediately self-quarantine and call their healthcare provider to discuss appropriate testing.

  • a) Not all individuals are candidates to be tested for COVID-19. Employers concerned about an employee’s health should rely on the recommendation of the employee’s healthcare provider regarding their ability to work.

3. All residents should continue to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations on infection prevention, including washing your hands for a full 20 seconds after touching any non-sterile surface and maintaining a strict 6-foot distance between individuals at all times.

  • a) Per the CDC’s recommendation, wear a cloth face covering while engaging in essential activities outside of your home. Please note, you should still maintain a strict 6-foot distance between individuals at all times, even when wearing face coverings.

"We appreciate your help as we all play our roles in combating the spread of COVID-19 in our community," TMH wrote in the release. "The actions of just one individual can have a tremendous impact, for better or for worse."

Wednesday, TMH also shared a list of do's and don'ts to provide realistic examples of how to practice their recommendations:

TMH's Do's & Do... by WTXL ABC 27 on Scribd

You can read TMH's full letter here.