Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

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Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously
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Emergency Room of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (Photo: Cottage Health)

The below letter was written by two Emergency Room Physicians at Cottage Hospital


Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

We are Emergency Physicians at Cottage Health. We live and work in this community, so we are also your neighbors, friends, and the local doctors who may diagnose your child's ear infection at 3 a.m., or fix your broken wrist.

These are trying times and nowhere is the anxiety and stress felt more than in the Emergency Room. We are the frontlines of this fight. Every day we are seeing increasing numbers of sick patients with COVID-19. Some are walking and talking and go home safely to recover. Others are very ill and need to be admitted to the hospital for care, some in the intensive care unit. Every day we are seeing more and more of these cases. 

We are inundated with news, updates, emails and social media posts regarding the virus. People are talking about the availability of tests, debating about how serious our situation will get. The reality is that COVID-19 is here. This virus is spreading. And the situation will likely get worse before it gets better. 

This is not a political issue, not a liberal or conservative issue. This is a human issue. Regardless of your income or immigration status, every one of us is affected by this pandemic.

For the sake of our community, we implore each of you to do your part to heed the warnings of our public health physicians. Stay home, wash your hands often, sanitize the surfaces you touch, and practices social distancing. It is up to each and every one of us to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you are young, healthy and fearless, don't do it for you, do it fo your mother or father or grandparent. They are the ones who will suffer and potentially die as the virus spreads.

If you are experiencing symptoms, assume that you have COVID-19. Isolate at home, rest, hydrate, and if necessary contact your physician by phone or use a virtual health app. If you have trouble breathing, chest pain, weakness or have significant co-existing medical conditions, some to the Emergency Room. If you are well and fearful that you may have been exposed - stay home and quarantine yourself. You arent going to be tested. There arent enough supplies to test everyone.

Although N95 masks and personal protective equipment are in limited supply, rest assured that the physicians and nurses of our community are committed to serving the needs of our patients. If supplies run out, we will find ways to keep going. We will still be here. We will continue to care. To us this is more than a job in our community, it is a duty we chose to care for and serve our friends, families, and neighbors. 

Together, we will get through this crisis. It is times like this that bring out the best in use. Please make a phone call to check in with your family, friends, and neighbors. Help those who need help. And we will look forward to the day when we can share a handshake or a hug again. Until then, let us all do our part to combat COVID-19.

Respectfully,

Nels Gerhardt, M.D.
Brett Wilson II, M.D.
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DebDeb Mar 31, 2020 04:01 PM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

Thank you to all that are doing the right thing! I haven't heard anyone point out that spitting on the ground is a dangerous behavior. I see people do it in parking lots, on sidewalks and just before entering a store. Talk about viral load....yuck.

kstar137 Mar 31, 2020 10:52 AM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

I think it would be very helpful if, in addition to the community collection drives for PPE going on at Goleta Cottage Hospital, if someone linked to Cottage Health could please create a webpage that links clear descriptions of what health care professionals could use from the local 'maker' community here. We wonder if home-made masks are even helpful to you - if worn over an N95 mask, does that somehow preserve the N95? Should we make face shields? One example of something possibly useful that we could make: my surgeon friend has described a Tyvek hood to be worn under a gown, googles, face shield, & N95 mask as being helpful during high-risk procedures like intubation. I'm working on a design and sewing it out of Tyvek, for him, in an emergency. My surgeon friend points out his hospital is not allowed to use homemade stuff, but if everything goes to h*ll the medical workers would be grateful for it. So - is this true at Cottage, too? Who exactly would we contact at Cottage to see if you need these? If a webpage could be put up with this information, you have a lot of skilled workers stuck at home who could make things for you...

Chip of SB Mar 31, 2020 10:31 AM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

Other countries are taking the new rules a lot more seriously. Here is a look at how they enforce "social isolation" in India. I fear some would like to see this level of enforcement implemented here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tqHVb3DBpI

sacjon Mar 31, 2020 11:07 AM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

CHIP - Oh dear! If a one thumbs up, 55 view, youtube video says it's true, then it must be! Thank you for shedding light on this atrocity that isn't clearly a faked video that literally only 55 people on the planet have bothered watching...well including me now. You should write a letter to India!

RHS Mar 31, 2020 10:08 AM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

In walking Sunday morning in the West Side I saw several places where people appeared to be gathering (multiple cars arriving) as though it were Sunday NFL again. Can't imagine what they are thinking: Must be something like "Get Sick As A Family" or "We're Young and We Will Survive". So much for community responsibility. Badly enough for us, these are the folks we will be sharing aisle space with at the supermarket.

Zenyatta19 Mar 30, 2020 07:54 PM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

Why hasn’t the OES sent out a countywide text alert in English and Spanish? They love to send out texts for fires whether we are affected or not. So why no alerts now? Wouldn’t this be an event which would benefit from widespread messaging?

sacjon Mar 30, 2020 05:55 PM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

If Deltopia were to be happening, then it would be a great opportunity for the police to spread awareness. I was just wondering why they were talking about it because I hadn't heard anything lately. If some student are still planning to do this, there should be a heavy presence there to inform and warn against this type of activity.

a-1591067004 Mar 30, 2020 05:35 PM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

I think what PUGs is saying is that people want Deltopia to happen, as much as everyone wants the restaurants/theaters/bars to be open, people back to work, and business as usual "by Easter" (per the president's wish list). I don't think PUGs is saying that Deltopia is actually going to happen or that it's in the works. So no one should get in a huff-huff (maybe a puff-puff as the lines of not-so-socially distancing patients are doing outside the Farmacy on Mission/DLV...as the patients walk away with their goodies in tiny Gucci-gooch paper bags complete with looped handles.

sacjon Mar 30, 2020 04:53 PM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

Deltopia? What are you talking about? NO ONE wants it to happen except the kids who love to party there. This would actually be a great opportunity for the cops to go out and spread the word and warning about citations for social distancing.

sacjon Mar 30, 2020 02:10 PM
Cottage ER Doctors Plead with Public to Take COVID-19 Seriously

Key point - this is NOT political. I see so many arguments across social media about this and it sickens me. There are still many, many people out there who believe that this is being blown out of proportion for political gains by one side or the other. Regardless of any exploitation of the virus by politicians, the fact remains: this is deadly and serious. Time to put politics aside and do what the pros are asking us to do.

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