Help Build COVID Community Immunity

As you know, right now our community is ranked one of the worst in the nation with regard to the spread of COVID 19.

I hope that all Blue Water Women are getting vaccinated.

Blue Water Woman Editor/Publisher Patti Samar

I want to share the words of one of our all-time favorite Blue Water Woman of the Year Award recipients Dr. Annette Mercatante of the St. Clair County Health Department. She and her amazing staff have all worked so hard this year to help our community.

Please help make their jobs easier by getting vaccinated when you have the opportunity. Millions of people worldwide have been safely vaccinated. I recognize that I am not going to change the minds of many readers who do not believe in vaccinations, but I do know there are some readers out there who are “on the fence.” I’m not sure what will help convince you that the vaccine is safe, but I can tell you I readily received my first shot and I’m about to receive my second shot this week.

After my first shot, for about 48 hours, my arm was sore at the vaccination site. I felt fine for the first four or five hours, and then for the next 24 hours, I felt kind of blah. I definitely didn’t get “sick” and the mild side effects did not stop me from doing anything at all, but I just felt that “pre-flu” feeling I get right before I get sick with the flu. Only this wasn’t the flu and I didn’t get sick. I have had no other side effects since then.

I anticipate experiencing something similar when I receive my second vaccine this week.

What does getting the vaccine mean to me? Well, I am finally able to fly out west in a few weeks to visit my elderly parents in Arizona. Due to COVID, I have not been able to see them in two years, since my trip last spring was cancelled.

They have already been vaccinated and I will be fully vaccinated, so we can hug during our visit. It will be the very, very best hug ever.

Dr. Mercatante shared the following guest opinion with area media today and I’m sharing her words, below, to help spread the word. The staff at the county health department is more than willing to help answer any questions you may have…just reach out to them.

(To read more about Dr. Mercatante and her incredible staff, read our Summer 2020 issue)

Take it away, Dr. Mercatante…and thank you for all you do.

Peace out,
Patti Samar
Blue Water Woman

From Dr. Annette Mercatante, St. Clair County Health Department:

With the alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, we are left with only a few options in how we can respond: (a) ignore it and take your chances (not advisable), (b) panic and make up our own rules, or (c) follow evidence-based guidance. I hope you are all in line with option “c”. I understand how difficult it is to keep up with the latest science and recommendations so here is what we know at this point:

Dr. Annette Mercatante, St. Clair County Health Department

·         Masks: They work …they really do. Wear one all the time in public and at home if you are with vulnerable people who are unvaccinated. 

·         Physical Distance: The virus cannot fly or move on its own…it hitches a ride on respiratory droplets that can only go so far to water droplets that can only go so far. Distance is your friend.

·         Handwashing/Sanitation: This germ dies with soap and water.

·         Stay Home if Sick: Isolate for 10 days if you know, or think, you have COVID19. Before you go out again, make sure 10 days has passed AND you are feeling better. The SARSCov2 virus can be transmitted up to 48 hours before you get sick and even if you are not having symptoms (tested positive only).

·         Testing: Regular testing helps everyone. By no means is it perfect, but frequent testing can reduce the time people go out while infected and help us at the Health Department identify where the outbreaks are. Choosing NOT to test does not eliminate the risk…it just prevents people from knowing. 

·         Quarantine: A basic tenet of public health that has been used for centuries to control the spread of infectious disease. Quarantine means staying away from other people after an exposure to someone who is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, which ensures you do not unwittingly pass it on. The SCCHD is advising those exposed to complete a full 14-day quarantine period due to high rates of transmission and a growing number of variant cases. Remember, testing at any time does not alter your quarantine time. The 7-day option (with testing) has NOT been adopted by MDHHS nor SCCHD and should not be considered at this time of elevated risk. 

And finally, vaccines. Those that are currently available are safe and effective. Get the first one that is available to you. The sooner we disrupt the transmission of this virus, the sooner we can spend more time with the people we love and do the things we want to do. Vaccines protect the community even more than they protect you so I urge everyone to make a plan to get vaccinated when you are eligible and to continue employing all the mitigation strategies outlined above until we reach herd immunity. 

That’s a lot to take in, but much more likely to work than doing nothing or doing the wrong thing. It’s going to take everyone doing their part to beat this virus…let’s get to work!

Yours in Health,
Annette Mercatante, MD, MPH
Medical Health Officer
St. Clair County Health Department

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