Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

Pine Bluffs town council jumps into the digital age!

 

March 19, 2020



Like it was shot out of a rocket, the Pine Bluffs Town Council entered the digital age with its first live council meeting on Monday. What should come as no surprise to anyone, the main topic of the evening was the COVID-19 virus. Nurse practitioner and Director of the Pine Bluffs Clinic, Ann Anderson was at the meeting to talk about some of the local concerns.

Anderson wanted residents to know that the clinic was still open to appointments and emergency concerns with just a few changes. Wyoming is still largely unaffected by the Corona virus, and because of that, our local clinic has less than ten Corona virus tests on hand with no actual determination as to when there might be more coming. In an effort to be cautious there will be a greeter at the door of the clinic to stop patients before they come in. If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or shortness of breath you will be asked to return to your car and answer another questionnaire. If you are found to be in a high risk population, as described by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which includes those who experience: chronic illness, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, age greater than 65, international travel in the last 3 to 5 days, or exposure to a person that has a documented (think positive test result) for the Corona virus you will be asked to drive around back, stay in your car and wait for an influenza test. The influenza test results take about fifteen minutes to come back. If you test positive for the flu, and have Corona virus symptoms, only then will the practitioner make a determination as to whether or not you warrant a Corona virus test. If your flu test comes back negative the provider will gown and mask, and you will be treated in your car.

Anderson and the clinic staff want to assure residents of Pine that they are not denying treatment to anyone, but they want to make sure that they are able to keep the virus out of the clinic. Life is still going on despite this virus, and the importance of keeping the contagion out of the clinic cannot be stressed enough. “If it gets in the clinic it will take out the whole staff” Anderson stated. Anderson and the staff at the clinic are asking that you please call ahead if you have a fever so that they can determine if you should come to the clinic, or continue to manage from home. If you find that you are experiencing symptoms of the virus, including fever, shortness of breath, or cough and your symptoms are manageable, please follow the CDC guidelines including self-quarantine for fourteen days. It is believed that the virus is contagious for anywhere from two to fourteen days and mostly when the cough and fever are present.

Corona virus is not new, Anderson was quick to point out that the common cold was simply a strain of the Corona virus. That being said, this particular strain of the Corona virus is new. No one has had this particular strain yet, and as such there is still much to be learned about this illness. “I know within the next year we’re gonna have Corona virus immunizations, and we’re gonna have to figure out what to do with all of that. So far this year the flu has taken out over 100,000 people worldwide, but no one really worries about that, and half of the population still doesn’t get a flu shot. Corona has taken out 7,000 so far, and people are in a panic” Anderson said. Most importantly, Anderson encourages people to take what they have already learned and apply it. Wash your hands…often, distance yourself from those who are sick, maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and exercise, and stay hydrated.

Anderson also pointed out that high risk groups, as outlined above, should always get their pneumonia vaccines and flu shots. While vaccinations can’t be trusted to cure everyone, people may do a lot better if they get them. Anderson also cautions against high fevers for a great period of time. Anything over 102 should be brought down as quickly as possible. Cool baths or showers, alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen can also help break a fever, but if you cannot get the fever down that is when you might warrant a trip to the doctor. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, however, the CDC reports that instances of the flu have dropped significantly over the last two weeks as the weather warms up and there is hope that this virus will do the same. While nothing is certain, and the world is certainly in a learning curve right now, there is definitely hope for the spring.

While residents of Pine continue to wait for that hope there are still some precautions being taken. The Catholic Church has announced that there will be no masses until April 8. As most of you already know there will be no school until that time as well. What you may not be aware of is that this three weeks will not be required to be made up at the end of the year. There is still some question as to what may happen if school does not resume after the third, but for now that is the information available.

Texas Trail manager Dixie Bomberger was also there to assure residents that the Texas Trail was open and doing business as usual with a few shortages, namely toilet paper and cleaning supplies. While it is true that the store has seen items flying off the shelves, there has been some talk that the distributer is thinking about limiting supplies to an average of what the market would normally sell. What this means for shoppers is that there may be an introduction of limits to things like milk and toilet paper. Bomberger also wanted to assure residents that the market is taking every precaution to ensure public safety. Delivery personnel and store workers are having their temperatures taken before every shift or delivery. If the person is found to have a temperature he or she is not allowed to work or deliver.

Town treasurer Kim Patterson assured residents that town services will continue as normal. Services that will go on uninterrupted include garbage, utilities, cemetery, and town maintenance. While the town hall will be open Patterson wanted to assure residents that if they are uncomfortable coming into the office the drop box outside of the fire department is still checked daily, and bills can be paid there, online, by mail, or in person. Patterson stated that the town was in the process of building a drive through drop box on the back of the building, but that would not be completed for a couple of months. Fire Chief Derek Walls has also asked that local residents please refrain from calling 911 for a cough or a runny nose. If you are concerned that, on the off chance, you may have been exposed to the Corona virus and you are tolerating your symptoms well, please stay home and stay quarantined. Walls reiterates that the fire and EMS crews are always available in a genuine emergency, but asks that people use their best judgment when thinking about calling 911.

Finally, there was a question about repairs to the local alleyways and Patterson assured residents that a meeting had been held last week and that a schedule was being devised to check and grade the alleys. If at that time it is discovered that there needs to be some repair work, those alleys in question will get a fresh layer of crushed concrete.

Council would like to encourage everyone to watch the new Facebook page for updates on the Corona virus and town closures. “As we prepare to work through COVID-19 and the stresses it’s going to place on communities I would like to encourage people to find a partner they feel comfortable talking to on the phone if they have concerns. Please feel free to reach out to our town hall or our police department, and please go on our town website and register for Code Red” stated Patterson. Registering for Code Red only takes a minute, and if you need information during a time of concern, Code Red will get you that information. The next council meeting will be on April 6, at 7 p.m. Since this will still be in the CDC window of caution, this meeting will also be live. Please make sure to like and follow the towns Facebook page to get further updates.

 

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