The information below represents current knowledge at the date of posting. Please continue to check for updated information during this health crisis.
We are all struggling to cope with the current situation. Everyone is feeling the effects, even if COVID-19 has not directly impacted you personally.
Our mission is to always support our friends, family, and community in every way we can. To continue that mission, I want to share some helpful knowledge about COVID-19 as well as updates about our response here at Arbor Springs. While this is a bit of a deviation from our usual topics, I feel it is essential to share factual information and relevant advice during these unusual and difficult times.
Most of the information in this post is taken directly from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization). However, it is my goal to present this essential knowledge in a simplified and helpful way, as a summary of the critical elements all in one place.
Some of the material below is also in our newsletter this month. However, this post allows me to elaborate on how you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and those around you.
It is important to remember that these are merely best practices and facts taken from reliable sources. Please disregard any recommendations and guidelines should they contradict medical professionals or Arbor Springs employees or put you in danger in any way.
Also, please be wary of where you get your information. Even with our articles and posts, it is best to confirm and even get a professional second opinion. Government agencies and trusted sources are always your best bet.
As the health crisis and your particular situation changes, it is imperative to follow all guidelines, regulations, and orders – specifically government and medical advisories.
There has been some confusion around many of the terms and phrases used to describe and understand this crisis. It may seem trivial, but it is essential to understand the full context of the situation. It will also clear up some of the points in this post.
Coronavirus: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. (WHO)
COVID-19: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (WHO), a novel coronavirus.
Social Distancing: Social distancing is the practice of increasing the space between individuals and decreasing the frequency of contact to reduce the risk of spreading a disease (ideally to maintain at least 6 feet between all individuals, even those who are asymptomatic). (CDC)
Medical Isolation (Self-isolation): Medical isolation refers to confining a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case (ideally to a single cell with solid walls and a solid door that closes), to prevent contact with others and to reduce the risk of transmission. (CDC)
Quarantine: Quarantine refers to the practice of confining individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-19 case to determine whether they develop symptoms of the disease. Quarantine for COVID-19 should last for a period of 14 days. (CDC)
It is critical to remember that there is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19. Therefore, the best method to stay safe is avoiding exposure to the virus.
The virus is believed to spread from person to person through tiny respiratory droplets produced when someone who is infected sneezes or coughs. This occurs mostly between people who are in close contact, which is about 6 ft.
The virus can also be transmitted by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth (just think of it as your face to be extra safe). The CDC recommends regular cleaning of these surfaces and suggests wearing the proper protective gear, such as gloves, while cleaning.
Finally, wash your hands often and after coming into contact with other people or possibly contaminated surfaces, such as routinely used surfaces like chairs, tables, and desks. Please follow all guidelines and stay up-to-date as these measures and precautions can change suddenly.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear 2-14 days after being infected. Some of these symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
The CDC recommends that you seek medical attention if you have emergency warning signs which include but are not limited to:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
It is also recommended to consult a physician if you come into contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or who has been in an area heavily affected by COVID-19.
It is important to remember that if you have these symptoms, it may not be COVID-19. If you are not diagnosed with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate, there are still many other illnesses such as the flu and common cold out there. It is always important to take care of yourself when you are sick and avoid spreading illness to anyone else.
What Precautions to Take
If you have a severe chronic condition, severe illness, or pre-existing medical conditions, you MUST take precautions. Those who are older also appear to be more susceptible and more at risk of hospitalization if infected with COVID-19.
What to do – even if you think you are perfectly fine and in tip-top shape:
- Wash your hands (more on that below).
- Practice social distancing – this one is TOUGH, but one of the most important.
- Even if you don’t have a strict stay-at-home order, please work from home if possible and only go out for essentials or emergencies.
- In addition to social distancing, avoid all travel in large groups and especially do not travel on a cruise ship.
- Cover your mouth when you cough and/or sneeze – but there is a right way to do it!
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue.
- If a tissue is not available, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
- If you do use hand sanitizer, it must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective.
- Clean and disinfect any surfaces that are frequently touched – such as tables, chairs, light switches, sinks, faucets, personal devices, doorknobs, and handles.
- Avoid close contact with anyone exhibiting or developing cold or flu-like symptoms.
What you should do if you think you have COVID-19 (or are sick in general):
- Stay at home.
- Wear a face mask when you are around other people.
- You may wear a nonsurgical cloth mask. Do not wear an N-95 respirator; these are in short supply and needed by medical professionals.
- If you do feel like you need to see a doctor, please contact your local hospital before making plans to go in.
- They will have recommendations and procedures for you and may even delay you physically being seen by a doctor (or even provide a remote telehealth session when appropriate).
- It is possible to be infected with COVID-19 but not require medical treatment at a hospital.
Washing Your Hands
You must wash your hands often and in the appropriate situation. When washing your hands, use these steps:
- Wet – run clean water over your hands; water can be cold or hot to start. Turn off the water and apply soap.
- Lather – create a strong lather by rubbing your hands together, forming a thick, soapy layer on the front and back of your hands, as well as underneath your nails.
- Scrub – rub your hands together and scrub with soap for 20 seconds. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice if you need to keep time.
- Rinse – wash off the soap under clean, hot running water.
- Dry – use a clean towel or air dryer to dry off your hands.
Here are some fun songs to sing for 20 seconds:
- “Happy Birthday” (as mentioned above)
- The chorus to “Stayin’ Alive” by The BeeGees
- “Row Row Row Your Boat”
- “Frere Jacques”
- The first verse of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz
- The chorus of “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music – “Doe, a deer, a female deer…to…That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh)”
If you want to have some real fun while passing the time, type your favorite song into this nifty little website – Wash Your Lyrics.
But when do you wash your hands? Make sure to wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating
- Before and after administering medical attention
- After going to the bathroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching any animal or animal product
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching trash or garbage
If you are unable to wash your hands:
- First of all, wash your hands as soon as possible.
- Use hand sanitizer – sanitizers won’t kill all germs, so wash your hands as soon as you can after.
- Don’t touch your face until you can wash your hands.
- Do not touch others until you can wash your hands.
A note about pets:
Currently, there is no evidence that companion animals can transmit the disease directly to humans (which we are all very pleased about). However, their fur, hair, and body may be contaminated.
So while the virus may not be transmitted to you in the same way as from another person, it can easily be transmitted by touching an animal’s body. Please wash your hands before and after touching or playing with an animal. Do not touch your face while handling or playing with an animal.
Safety Guidelines at Arbor Springs
Restricted Access: Out of an abundance of caution, in response to the COVID-19 virus, Arbor Springs is temporarily restricting all visitors. It is crucial that we take every precaution possible to prevent this virus from entering the facility. Restricting access to only those individuals who are critical to the operational or care needs of the facility is a step we feel is necessary to take.
Please call the facility directly at 515-223-1135 with questions or concerns. We look forward to notifying you when the restrictions are lifted.
We are taking the current COVID-19 situation extremely seriously. It is essential to respect these precautions and follow the proper guidelines carefully. Keeping our community and its members safe is a top priority for us. Please take note of these guidelines to stay safe in our community:
- Let a staff member know immediately if you have a dry cough, feel feverish, or are having trouble breathing.
- We will be taking everyone’s vitals once per day to make sure everyone is healthy.
- If you have any concerns about your physical or emotional well-being, do not hesitate to let us know. While COVID-19 is our main concern, the general well-being and everyday health of our community members are still our priorities.
- Keep your distance from others when possible (6 feet is recommended).
- Cover your mouth with your elbow while sneezing or coughing.
- Do not shake hands, hug, or have any other direct contact if not absolutely necessary.
- Wash your hands thoroughly when necessary.
These guidelines are in no way all-encompassing and should not be adhered to if medical professionals or staff members inform you otherwise. We are learning more about COVID-19 every day, so be sure to stay informed at Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC.
COVID-19 in Iowa
Every state is different, and the situation is rapidly changing. At the time of writing this, Governor Reynolds has proclaimed a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency for the state of Iowa. This has various impacts around the state, so please be aware of how this will affect you. You can read and stay up to date with the orders here.
In general, schools and many businesses have been closed, and there are new restrictions on public gatherings. The scope of the order is increasing, recently including malls, recreational businesses, museums, libraries, playgrounds, and campgrounds. There are also many relaxations on taxes and deadlines, such as rent and utilities. During this time, it is a good idea to be aware of the restrictions as well as what assistance will be afforded to you.
We can’t stress enough that the situation is continually changing and that you should be aware of both local and nationwide precautions.
We Are All In This Together
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this significant moment in all of our lives. A special thanks to everyone helping out at Arbor Springs and those who have loved ones living with us. We truly appreciate your cooperation and respect for our precautions.
We know it is difficult to be separated from your loved ones, both at Arbor Springs and in other parts of the county, state, and nation. We are all doing this together to keep each other safe.
It is essential to be strong and keep in touch with friends and family through phone calls, messages, letters, emails, and especially video chats! While social media may not be something you are 100% comfortable with, go ahead and give it a shot. It is a great way to keep close to those who are most important. There are still many things we can do every day to remain connected.
Working together and staying united is the best thing we can do right now. Our top priority at Arbor Springs is always the safety and health of others. We strive every day to help everyone as much as we can.
In the coming weeks, remember that we are all part of the same community and offer a helping hand when you can. Above all, please remain safe and take the outlined precautions as well as any others that may arise.
We are in this together, and we will get through this by staying together.
COVID-19 Main Pages –
Additional Information and Preparedness –
Thank you to everyone at the CDC, WHO, and the Iowa State Government for providing this critical information. Please continue to check their websites for additional information and updates.
These guidelines are in no way all-encompassing and should not be adhered to if medical professionals or staff members inform you otherwise.
We are learning more about COVID-19 every day, so be sure to stay informed at Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC.