How to help? Remember

the basics

What can we do to help?

Health professionals at Meeker Memorial Hospital have heard that question, or some version of it, many times in the past couple of weeks. And when offered the chance, county residents have responded with equipment donations and many other kinds of support.

But the best thing people can do to help is follow guidelines, according to MMH vice president of development and operations Marc Vaillancourt.

“It’s the governor’s executive order,” he said. “The stay at home (order) — that is one way that we can help. That burden falls on all of us. Let’s follow those guidelines.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s statewide stay home order began March 27 and will remain in effect through April 10. It asks state residents to limit their movements outside their own homes beyond essential needs. Health experts have said that limiting social interactions reduces the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

In addition, Vaillancourt said, people need to remember — and practice — the basics “that you’ve heard over and over again,” such as:

Wash your hands.

If you are sick, stay home.

Cover your cough.

Maintain a social distance of 6 feet.

Do not gather in large groups.

“All of these things, those are front-line things that don’t require any expertise,” he said. “You don’t need a Ph.D. to wash your hands (while) singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.”

Meanwhile, anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms — fever, shortness of breath, cough, aches — they should call nurse triage number at 320-373-1026. The triage nurse will work with callers to determine the correct procedure for care.

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