Commentary: Cordova shores up its medical defenses

By Dr. Hannah Sanders
For The Cordova Times

I wanted to take a moment to update you on the medical preparations for the potential outbreak of COVID-19 in our community.

CCMC and Ilanka have been working collaboratively to provide the best medical response possible for Cordova.

  • We have provided input to the Incident Management Team on recommendations for processors and fishermen to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 in Cordova and if it does occur to limit its impact.
  • We have obtained testing equipment and treatment supplies at both Ilanka and CCMC to be ready if cases do occur.
  • We now have rapid testing available at both Ilanka and CCMC. The rapid testing is not approved as a test to screen healthy individuals. The test is used for people with COVID-19 symptoms. Test supplies are limited, so we will need to be judicious in who we test. We will continue to follow the Alaska Department of Health testing guidelines.
  • We are developing and implementing treatment protocols to include quarantine and medical plans.
  • We have bolstered our oxygen supply.
  • We are looking at emergency staffing needs and back up plans, coordinating with all health care staff at Ilanka and CCMC.

Although we have had no positive tests to date, it does not mean that there is no virus in town. Many people, particularly young people do not have symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others. In this light you can help stop the spread of the virus by assuming it is present and taking appropriate precautions.

These include wearing a mask in public, frequent hand washing and maintaining social distancing when out. The disease attacks the elderly and those with existing medical problems harder than others. Please assist your friends and neighbors with those issues by doing their shopping and errands for them. Finally, if you know people coming into the town this spring and summer, for whatever reason, encourage them to follow the 14-day quarantine and not leave their residence to go out to any stores or common places. Please continue to follow Cordova mandates and guidelines. We thank you for your support during this crisis.

Dr. Hannah Sanders is medical director for Cordova Community Medical Center.