I’ve heard it said so many times that wearing a mask is an infringementof our constitutional rights. I’m not sure which one since the framers ofthe Constitution did not include anything so specific as mask wearing.Over and over, I hear that Governor Wolf is a desperate, tyrannicalleader trying to strip away our rights by not allowing us to get haircuts,go to stores, or go out to eat the way we want to. I actually feel that,regarding masks, Governor Wolf is simply asking us to be moreconsiderate of, and helpful to, our fellow Pennsylvanians. Let’s all remember that masks serve an actual purpose in thispandemic. If YOU have COVID 19, even if you don’t know that you do,a mask may prevent you from spreading the virus to others. The samegoes for all the other mask-wearers. It’s something we can do to try toprotect our fellow citizens. Purposely NOT wearing a mask is similar towearing a button that reads, “I don’t care about you.” This simple act of wearing a mask has become politicized, spiritualized,and personalized. I have been denigrated and judged on multipleoccasions for wearing mine. But someone needs to explain to me howwearing a mask has “removed my constitutional rights.” Soldiers havebeen trained with gas masks since World War I. They’ve carried them,complained about them, and disliked them. But, they’ve worn thembecause sometimes it’s necessary! Perhaps we need to think of thesepandemic masks in similar terms These masks do not remove ourfreedoms; they are weapons for defending our freedom to live a healthylife. If we all wear masks, we can get back to normal life more quickly,save lives (many of them, according to experts), and see our economyre-opening faster. So please, enough of this “don’t wear a mask” nonsense (except forrare and specific medical reasons!). The only way through this mess isto get through this mess. We can’t wish it away. We can’t pretend thatCOVID 19 does not exist. It does, and it has killed 138,000 Americans,of all political parties, already. Let’s fight for freedom; let’s put thosemasks on. Rich Sterner, wearing a mask to fight for freedom. Candidate for PA Senate District 33
Finances…never an easy subject! Due to COVID-19, revenue is down across Pennsylvania, and therefore, the Department of Education (PDE) is cutting adult education funding by more than $100,000. The optional tutor grant that we were awarded (over $50,000) is completely gone, and our 064 state grant is only being funded for 2.5 months, and expected to last us 5 months. The state said they would re-evaluate after 5 months, but there are no guarantees of anything. In the meantime, we serve over 100 adults in Adams County alone. Please join me in supporting literacy. For every 50 masks that we sell, we raise $400. Please share this fundraiser with your family, neighbors, and friends. The Adams County Literacy Council (ACLC) has been in existence for over 30 years! Please help to keep us around for another 30! Thank you! To order an ACLC mask, please visit the link below:
Dear Neighbor, I wanted to share this article with you. It has some important information about the spread of COVID-19.
My friend Maricella lost her job two months ago. She is helping make ends meet by selling her homemade tortillas. They are delivered warm to me 1-3 times a week and are completely delicious. If you’d like a dozen or perhaps more, please text or call me at 717 752-5475. $8.00 per dozen. Hugh Matthews
The United Way of Adams County (UWAC) is hosting a Facebook livestream featuring local musicians. The “Listen Up for Good” concert event will begin at 6 p.m. on May 22. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, UWAC has had to cancel its largest fundraiser of the year, the “Give It Up for Good” rummage sale held at Gettysburg College on Memorial Day weekend. “UWAC is seeking local musicians who would like to share their time and talents to help United Way and promote community unity during this challenging time,” said Vickie Corbett, UWAC’s executive director. Musicians are being asked to submit one or two videos. Music from a variety of genres is being included in the concert. Groups that have committed to participated include the steel drum band Island Fusion, hip hop artist DurtE, as well as solo performances from Thomas Senseney, Wayne Beck, Marshall Stone, Devon Cayro, Brian Colgan, Robert Leveille Sr, April Jeannette Howard, P.J. Groft, and Dustin Muller. If you would like to be part of this important event, please contact Chris Bunty, UWAC’s Resource Development and Marketing Associate, at email@example.com. Messages may also be sent to Bunty through UWAC’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Submissions should be received no later than May 15. More details are also available on the agency’s website, www.uwadams.org. UWAC has been supporting the Adams County community for 73 years focusing on education, financial stability and income. According to Corbett “All funds raised help people right here in your community. Examples of projects funded in our community include free income tax assistance, the annual school backpack program, food drives which assist area food banks and our Ready to Learn initiatives which prepare pre-schoolers for kindergarten.
This blog post, penned by local resident and Gettysburg Foundation President Matthew Moen, originally appeared on the Gettysburg Foundation Website. Many thanks to the Foundation for so graciously sharing with us. Ghost tours have long been a cottage industry in Gettysburg, and for once, the supernatural hits the mark. COVID-19 has turned a tourist town ordinarily bustling this time of year—with schoolchildren, tour buses, and families—into a ghost town. Closed up tight except for grocery stores, pharmacies, take-out food, and Walmart. All weirdly happening during the rebirth that is springtime in Pennsylvania, as grass grows, animals romp, and birds sing. This season of life juxtaposed with COVID-19 death. Pondered every day, as I head out for permitted strolls to pass the time during stay-at-home orders. Dodging other human beings as part of social distancing, while walking beneath trees with fragrant blossoms right across the street from my own physician’s clinic, now closed off with orange cones to test and treat COVID-19 patients. Slightly surreal. While strolling, counting myself among the lucky to inhale the sweet smell of those blossoms, mindful that thousands of Americans daily are losing their lung capacity. Watching a high-tech but unprepared nation that I love, scramble to build or buy ventilators to preserve human life. Startling. Thinking whether in my lifetime America crossed over from justifiable pride at its success to a misguided arrogance. Humbled now as the focal point of a global pandemic. Unfamiliar place. Haunting for those living here in Gettysburg, a small community known around the world for the deaths and injury that happened here in the pivotal battle of the Civil War, memorialized by hundreds of monuments around Gettysburg National Military Park. Strangely weird parallels between the Battle of Gettysburg and COVID-19. Human tragedy starting through accidental encounters. Smart but also terrible decisions by fallible leaders. Imperfect information. Disease and death pervasive—seemingly random. Caregivers rushing in, jeopardizing their own safety and health to lessen the suffering of others. Grief at loss of loved ones. Memorial services sparsely attended. Enduring hardship ahead for so many. Lessons of Gettysburg are taught regularly to visitors through a battle and Lincoln. But there’s no one here to listen to them now. And questions spinning around in my mind as president of the Gettysburg Foundation whether this pandemic will push contemporary worries so far into the future that Gettysburg’s prize place in American history is steadily relegated to the ages. After leaving the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) opined that it might take “something cataclysmic” for Americans to overcome their anger and hostility toward one another, some “intervening event for Americans to realize that first [and foremost], we are Americans.” (Tim Alberta, “John Boehner Unchained,” Politico, November/December 2017). COVID-19 may prove to be that cataclysmic event, but if so, it’s a pitiful way to stage a national comeback. Watching an America that has strayed so far from Enlightenment principles brought to us from Europe by our Founding Fathers—ideas as simple as reason and scientific discovery. Impulses famously receiving expression a generation ago when Americans enthusiastically supported the math and physics infrastructure necessary to place a man on the moon, not because it is easy, as President Kennedy so famously said, but because it is hard. This can-do American attitude, this self-confidence, chipped away little-by-little in the decades since. Invincible America no more. Politicians hugging flags or pounding their chests, hoping to convince themselves or us otherwise. But we feel it. Now in the autumn of my life, coming to terms with the unthinkable—that my own generation of Baby Boomers is responsible for letting slip away the great American democratic experiment in human history, rather than hand it off in tip-top shape to our children. Now thinking we don’t quite recognize that fact, or if we do, we won’t admit it. Watching some of my Boomer brothers and sisters on television blast younger generations as ignorant and self-indulgent, crossing over a line from constructive elderly guidance to merciless criticism, and with a god-awful smugness. Their critique about a sense of entitlement in a world of plenty often resonating with me, but in the back of my head a powerful voice telling me that my fellow Boomers are not even listening to the justifiable worries young people are voicing, but instead, blindly rushing to judge them. Hoping I am flat wrong in this, of course. Hoping there remains a path forward that preserves prosperity and liberty, for America figured out how to successfully wed free-market capitalism with democracy in a way no other nation has, and for longer than any other in human history. And thus, remaining hopeful about the future despite current misgivings. Passing time on my social distancing walks by thinking about admirable traits of famous people, hoping these might resurface as America stages a social and political comeback once we are on the other side of a virulent virus. Laughing to myself in this late stage of life that the traits I so admire are tied exclusively to people now all deceased, save one. Not knowing some new cast of characters. Demonstrating the ignorance Boomers readily ascribe to Millennials. Humbling. Here’s an abbreviated list of desirable traits matched up with people who demonstrated them. The eternal optimism of Ronald Reagan, who believed America’s best days lie ahead and that it would be foolish to trade our “tomorrows for our yesterdays,” words in his last public speech. Three songwriters next. The acceptance of all others beautifully expressed by songwriter Holly Near in her 1978 anthem, “We’re Singing for our Lives.” The unabashed respect for American exceptionalism, written by Katharine Lee Bates after a cross-country trip where she saw with her own eyes, “America the Beautiful.” The subtle inclusivity of western folk singer Woodie Guthrie, whose famous refrain, “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land” quietly teaches us to remember that America is our land, but someone else’s too. We share it. Abraham Lincoln—our Gettysburg staple—for his unmistakable personal humility, his resolve to plant his feet and stand his ground in pursuit of right, and his profound compassion, expressed elegantly in his famous phrase, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” The forgiveness of Nelson Mandela. Imprisoned 27 years out of racist fears before inviting one of his jailers to dinner and another to his inauguration as South African president. And finally, the indescribable humanitarianism of Princess Diana, who circled the globe to support the sick or downtrodden among us, ranging from HIV/AIDS to leprosy, homelessness, landmine removal, and childhood cancer. As Elton John sang metaphorically at her funeral, Diana was a brightly lit candle to the world, prematurely extinguished. Optimism, acceptance, respect, inclusivity, humility, resolve, compassion, forgiveness, and humanitarianism—a partial list of what Lincoln may have been thinking when in his First Inaugural Address, he called upon Americans to surface “the better angels of our nature.” Matthew C. Moen, Ph.D. President, Gettysburg Foundation
Green Gettysburg Book Club convened last February 14, Valentine’s Day, with about thirty members on our list and has continued since with about fifteen members participating actively each week and others following along on Facebook. We got to meet about five times in person, but now with the pandemic we’ve shifted to Zoom and continue meeting regularly there. Green Gettsyburg Members Will Lane and Debby Luquette at the Green Gathering, 2019 Our mission is twofold. First, we want to train ourselves to be effective advocates for action on environmental issues, especially climate change. This means not only becoming well informed on the science but also gaining a better understanding of the dynamics of climate change denial and of strategies for communicating effectively on environmental issues. Secondly, we see ourselves as participating, right here in our home county, in a major cultural shift in the way we think about our relationship with the natural world, helping to move from a model of domination and exploitation to a recognition of our interdependence with the natural systems that sustain us. Along with the science, we are committed to exploring alternative ways of understanding nature and our relationship with other living things. These two, different goals actually support each other in important ways. Science without empathy can sometimes go astray. Emotion without a solid grounding in careful observation and science can become sentimental and lead to bad decisions. But like most people in these challenging times, we are also looking for the spiritual nourishment and emotional comfort that can come from a more open, more personal relationship with the natural world. “Biophilia,” the love of other living thing, is an important word for many of us. First coined by the ant scientist E.O. Wilson, the term refers to an inborn love of nature that he asserts is part of our evolutionary heritage. For us, it’s a love worth cultivating since as one of our members has said, we are not likely to act effectively to save something we do not already love deeply. Pope Francis, with his emphasis on environmental stewardship and respect for the intrinsic value of all living things is another source of inspiration for many. Our first selection, What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming, by Norwegian Per Espen Stoknes took us deep into the dynamics of climate change denial. We learned, among many other things, that “identity eats reality for breakfast” time after time. By this Stoknes means that the things we believe depend as much or more on what our friends and family believe as on the facts of the matter. Believing is really a social act and changing one’s mind can be painful and involve the loss of friends. But we also learned a great deal about the power of stories and new ways of framing a problem as tools for communicating a new perspective on climate change. We learned to be careful about the way we frame information. What kind of story are we telling, one of doom and gloom? Or are we telling a story about a transition from outmoded energy sources to new economic development and a more stable foundation for human flourishing and the wellbeing of the natural world? Indeed, there are so many new stories worth telling: of green economic development, of human well-being through an ethic of stewardship and the re-wilding of damaged habitats. Stories of a new culture in the making. Currently, we are reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. As a botanist and college professor, a member of the Citizen Potowatomi Nation, and a mother raising two daughters, Kimmerer is able to weave together the scientific, the mythical, and the practical and in the end often let the plants themselves do the teaching. We have learned the myth of Sky Woman, falling from above the clouds and establishing the first living things on the back of an ancient tortoise, inevitably contrasting this story with the western myth of Adam and Eve. We have learned about maple sugaring and the craft of making baskets from the wood of ash trees. Most importantly, we have pondered the power of gratitude as expressed in the Thanksgiving Address, a public prayer practiced by members of the Onondaga Nation. As Kimmerer says, “…while expressing gratitude seems innocent enough, it is a revolutionary idea. In a consumer society, contentment is a radical proposition. Recognizing abundance rather than scarcity undermines an economy that thrives by creating unmet desires. Gratitude creates an ethic of fullness, but the economy needs emptiness. The Thanksgiving address reminds you that you already have everything you need.” At the moment, we are about one-third of the way through Braiding Sweetgrass and welcome new members. More information about the Green Gettysburg Book Club can be obtained by writing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just saw on the Adams County Farmers Market Association Facebook page an appeal for “Social Solidarity Volunteers,” people who would help load orders into customers’ cars at the Farmers Market as part of the new safe distancing practices. I applied, partly just because of the irresistible job title!
For the first time this year all Pennsylvanians can vote by mail. With the COVID-19 virus striking us during the primary season it is good to have this option. There is no way of knowing that it will be safe to go to the polls on June 2nd. All you need to do is fill out an application for a mail-in ballot and send it to Adams County Office of Elections. One of the easiest ways to obtain the application is to go to http://www.adamscounty.us/Dept/ElectVoteReg/Documents/Applications/MailInApplication.pdf print it off, fill it out and send it to: Adams County Office of Elections Elections and Voter Registration 117 Baltimore Street Room 106 Gettysburg, PA 17325 If you do not use a computer or choose not to go to the on-line site, you may call the Adams County Office of Elections at 717-337-9832 to request that an application be mailed to you. Calls are answered during normal business hours, even during the pandemic. The last day to apply for a Mail in ballot for the June 2nd primary is May 26, 2020 but you should apply as soon as possible. It takes time for the ballot to be mailed to you and for you to then mail it back to the Office of Elections, and there is only one week between the deadline to apply and the deadline for the ballot to be returned to the Office of Elections. When the Elections Office approves your application, they will send you an E mail telling you it has been approved and that your mail-in ballot is on its way.You will receive your packet and it will include:• an instruction sheet, • the ballot, • the Secrecy Envelope (labeled “Official Mail-In Ballot”) into which the ballot is put, • and the outer envelope used to return the ballot to the Elections Office. On the back of the outer envelope is a declaration which MUST be signed by the voter. That’s like signing the book at your precinct when you vote in person and identifies you as the voter. To be counted it must be received in the Elections Office by June 2nd. Remember, if you vote by mail you CAN NOT go to the polls and vote on June 2nd There is another advantage to applying to vote by mail is that you can choose to be sent a ballot for the November election later this year. Simply check the block for “Annual Mail-in Request”. Not only is this a Presidential election year, but Adams Countians will be voting for U.S. Congress, State Senate & Representative and a number of State offices and delegates to their Party’s National Conventions. YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT!
Dear Neighbors I hope you are all well and staying healthy. I have been working with the Central PA Food Bank and SCCAP to organize a virtual food drive for our town, with donations earmarked for SCCAP’s food pantry. Our friends and co-workers have lost their livelihoods and may already be unable to pay bills or put food on the table. Many were already living with significant precarity. Gettysburg’s local economy has also been deeply affected by the pandemic, with the closure of non-essential businesses, lost revenue to the borough, and added strain to our local, life-saving organizations like SCCAP & Manos Unidas. If you haven’t already made a donation, I hope you’ll join me in this virtual food drive for SCCAP. Simply click and drag a product off the shelf, scan it with the virtual cash register, and then check out to donate. You can even personally dedicate your donation to a specific individual or group in the ‘comments’ box at checkout. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity during these trying times. Please be sure to forward this email and/or the attached flyer to others in the community if you are willing and able. Take good care Cassie
Hi Adams County neighbors! If your college students are home because their school closed due to COVID-19, please make sure you know where to count them on the 2020 Census. Since they are home only because their school closed, they should still be counted “where they usually live and sleep most of the time.” This means, since they were supposed to be at school, they should be counted there. If they were in a dorm or in university-owned housing, you do not need to count them on your 2020 Census form and they don’t need to count themselves. The school counts them. If they were in off-campus housing, they need to take the census on their own and use their off-campus address. If parents or guardians have already counted their college student at home, it is OK. We have processes in place to deal with situations where a student is counted more than once. To respond online now, go to https://go.usa.gov/xdK8h.
Dear Friends and Neighbors, Today I participated in a community conference call about food insecurity in the current time. I learned that an army of local Adams County volunteers is helping provide food to hungry families during this health emergency. The volunteers include those working with school districts, backpack programs, food pantries, and many, many other programs. The list of people selflessly giving their time and money amazed me. Volunteers from Waldo’s are helping pick up and deliver food in the county. The backpack programs John’s Meals and Ruth’s Harvest continue to collect food and distribute it daily. At the same time they continue to search for bulk food donations. Head Start is delivering thousands of meals to families with young children. Each of our six school district distributes hundreds of lunches every week. “Neighbors helping neighbors” Facebook pages have been created in the county. Gettysburg Rising collected $3,000 in donations through a crowdsourcing campaign. With the money they bought $25 gift cards for local organizations which they are distributing to needy people in the county. “It’s not a ton of help but a little bit can go a long way,” said Gettysburg Rising spokesperson Jenny Dumont. And much, much more. One of the participants on the call said “people don’t realize who is bringing the food. And that it’s happening across the country.” I also heard volunteers saying “people are hesitant to ask for help.” “We’re having problems getting the quantities we need.” There is so much that needs to be done. If you wish to donate your time, please contact Yeimi Gagliardi at email@example.com or 717.337.4264 Ext. 6, or contact any of your local agencies. If you are able to donate money, please consider Manos Unidas, SCCAP or the Gettysburg-Adams United Way. And will you please help share this information with your neighbors? Please stay safe everyone and thanks for your support.
I’m still yearning for more local conversation about what we’re gonna do to take care of ourselves from now on, primarily here at the local level (i.e., within reach of what each of us can do personally), but very much in sync with larger efforts. I just heard a general in the U.S. Army Reserves on today’s Radio Smart Talk. I had no idea there was such amazing logistical and operational genius available to assist with local planning–disaster response and beyond. (Not that our local service providers and business community aren’t doing a good job, just that their hands are fully occupied with plugging leaks in the dam right now, and I want to look beyond that.) Here’s an article that explains what I’m thinking about better than I’ve been able to express it myself yet: https://medium.com/presencing-institute-blog/a-new-superpower-in-the-making-awareness-based-collective-action-83861bcb9859 Says it’s a 19-minute read. Another article I keep thinking about is Thomas Friedman’s 2.25.20 opinion piece in the NYT, in which he proposes a Cabinet for the next Administration composed of former presidential candidates (from both parties!), each exercising his or her area of expertise to begin righting what’s gone wrong–a modern-day Team of Rivals: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/opinion/democratic-primary-candidates.html As a concept, I think this is brilliant and want to do SOMETHING to get it into wider circulation. Can you imagine if the alternative to 45 at the next election were actually a coordinated, collaborative vision of ways to put us back together again–ways that make sense and serve all of us? Uncle Joe might be up to leading a team like that. I’d feel better if he left most of the policy-crafting to the other minds, but he’s probably a pretty good schmoozer and conciliator. Not a Lincoln, but we’ll take what we can get.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. Side view of an individual wearing a cloth face covering, which conceals their mouth and nose areas and has a string looped behind the visible ear to hold the covering in place. The top of the covering is positioned just below the eyes and the bottom extends down to cover the chin. The visible side of the covering extends to cover approximately half of the individual’s cheek. According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face be secured with ties or ear loops include multiple layers of fabric allow for breathing without restriction be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape Click here to see the CDC face mask patterns Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing. Click here to see the CDC face mask patterns
Hi neighbor! Coping at home is working out quite well, thank you. I was laid off from my last commuting job on Nov. 1, 2006, and have been freelancing–with some ups and downs–ever since. Working at home has been part of my routine for years. Even though I’m mostly retired from medical editing, I’m maintaining some other freelance projects plus some part-time work for an association in Baltimore. So the big difference in my life lately is that I’m not traveling to Baltimore once a week. We’ve been testing out a video conferencing web program and my co-workers and I will keep in touch that way going forward. If I were going to feel isolated and lonely, I got that out of my system before I moved into the borough in late 2010. I love being in a walkable neighborhood. I have a young standard poodle boy (just over 6 months) who is new to my household. He joins my 8-year-old standard poodle and my 14-year-old rat terrier. They are very good company (better than some people). In my attached photo, the new guy, Hobbes, is on the left and Neely is on the right. Bridget did not cooperate on the photo shoot.
As the need for food in the county increases, Jesus is Lord Ministries International is holding a massive food giveaway to 140 Needy Families on Sunday, April 12th at Jesus Is Lord Ministries, 3425 Chambersburg Road, Biglerville from 12:30 pm. to 2 p.m. The ministries is located seven miles west of Gettysburg on Route 30. Each box has approximately 40 pounds of food. The foods provided are with the intent of making daily meals and include refrigerated Items. Registration is suggested but not required. For more information please call the church at 717-337-1635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wellspan Health’s engineering team has tested several models of home-sewn face masks and has provided a pattern for making masks that can be used by their hospitals. Wellspan hospitals will begin accepting donated masks on Monday. Wellspan said a mask with a center pocket in the back for additional filter materials which could catch and absorb coughs and sneezes offers added protection. Those materials would be inserted after the masks are washed. While home-sewn masks are not considered normal hospital personal protective equipment, they may have a use in this rapidly changing environment. Please download the pattern and delivery instructions to local hospitals here.
Update on Corona 3/20/20 Hey everyone thought I would give an update on the past weeks events in my ER. I wanted to start it off with if you are feeling flu like symptoms DO NOT GO TO THE ER. The best place for you to be is home unless you are feeling shortness of breath. Your likelihood of contracting corona virus is much worse by sitting in a room with multiple possible PUI (persons under investigation). At this particular juncture if you test positive or negative for the corona virus there is no change in treatment. There are multiple drive through stations if you really want to get tested I would recommend going to one of these. My hospital has taken everything to the next level. We currently have a multiple screening situation. We have a tent outside with an MD who triages possible PUI’s to particular stations within the ER. It is great to see diplomacy thrown out the window our hospital is getting stuff done. Usually its takes forever for hospitals to make changes but management has been working 24/7 around the clock and has added multiple stations of negative pressure rooms I am currently stationed in the COVID zone. Where i have 16 reclineable chairs. Over the last week my team consists of Me, one nurse and a tech. We have a quick Viral panel ( FLU / RSV ) and also strep testing kit that gives us results in 5 – 15 min. An EKG machine and also a portable CXR. For patients who are short of breath it should be noted that using inhalers / nebulizers ( the mist used for asthmatics ) is not a good idea : it aerosolizes coronavirus and spreads the virus into the air. In the first few days in the zone I was swabbing everyone for FLU / RSV / Strep just to see how many cases there were and very few came back positive so we scrapped that idea and now are only testing for corona. After seeing hundreds of patients with coronavirus over the last week I came to some more observations. First I will lay out the timeline of what I have been seeing with patients Day 1 : sore throat Day 2 : cough / runny nose / body aches Day 3 : mild fever ( low grade 100 – 101) / Headaches Day 4/ 5 : SOB and some pleuritic chest pain ( tightness in your chest thats hard to describe by most people who have it : an uncomfortability ) Day 4 – 10 : This is what I consider the danger zone : Some patients with shortness of breath are deteriorating in this time frame not quickly though. it is taking multiple hours to even a day where their oxygen saturation is decreasing. Most patients are tachycardic ( fast heart rate ) and tachypnic ( fast breathing ). Day 10 – 14 : Everything levels out and patients are starting to improve My initial observations were pretty inline with what everyone else is stating : I originally posted the sickest patients I saw after 3 days were ages 20 – 40 females. I will change this to 20 – 55 and due to the small sample size in patients I have been seeing a lot more males now but the split is probably 50 /50. Over the last week my ER has intubated a handful of young healthy patients. If i were to put a number on this I would say its probably 1 / 3000 people with that number getting smaller every day. Our ICU is currently filled with nursing home patients who have contracted the virus. The majority of them are not doing well and will probably pass from this. It should be noted that in FLU outbreaks this is something that we commonly see. To further strengthen my original observation of children not contracting corona virus … I have seen hundreds of people over the last week and only seen one child who was probably 12 years of age who I think may have had it. Otherwise children under the age of 17 again are not being affected by the virus. ( in my previous email i was suspicious of the virus invading lymphocytes causing an immune mediated response which I am now more certain is probably whats going on. ) I have been seeing clear chest xrays unless patients have been symptomatic for about 6-7 days. I have included a picture of a normal Xray and a chest Xray of a healthy 40 year old with coronavirus. I have also included some photos of a CT scan of a healthy 50 year old female with coronavirus. All of these have been in line with what everyone else has seen diffuse patchy viral like infiltrates on chest xray and also peripheral ground glass opacities on CT scan. Currently there are no direct treatments for coronavirus. I have discussed with infectious disease specialists in my hospital and for the intubated patients they are still giving Chloroquine and keytruda. There are multiple studies coming out every day with varied results. The healthy 27 year old who was intubated and on ECMO ( lung device used to help with oxygen saturation ) is now off of ECMO. Still intubated but she is improving. She is currently on chloroquine and keytruda. One point that I wanted to bring up was on the contagiousness of the disease. Current reports say that corona virus is rated as a 2 – 4. I have never seen a virus spread like this in the 20 – 50 year old demographic. As previously stated I was concerned that the virus is indolent at the beginning phase ( walking around assymptomatic ) and that’s how people are spreading it. Again the smartest thing for this is the 2 week mandatory self quarantine / social distancing. Overall summary : I have seen hundreds of patients with coronavirus. I have upgraded my concern from mild to mild – moderate for the sole reason that I have never seen young healthy patients with such terrible chest Xrays. I have been an attending physician since 2013 and in normal circumstances I would never send home a person with such a drastic chest xray. Usually I would admit them to the hospital and observe them for 24 – 48 hours however these are unprecedented times where I am sending home multiple people with this similar problem. I have heard of some NYC hospitals admitting every person with radiological evidence this would lead to multiple hospitals being overwhelmed with patients. My hospitals current criteria is if your oxygen saturation is close to 90 % and if you are tachypnic ( breathing rate over 20 ) we will admit you and we round on you every 4 – 6 hours. My current recommendation is to wear an N 95 mask if you are going into crowded areas or just avoid them altogether. I have asked my own parents to stay at home at this particular juncture and if they need anything for me or my siblings to get them things. I am practicing self distancing myself . I haven’t had a beer in 10 days and for those of you who know me probably my longest tenure since Villanova ???? I was supposed to be flying to florida right now to visit my best friend Brian but I have to practice what I am preaching. It is very interesting to me because where I work is a few miles out from New Rochelle supposedly the epicenter of the first coronavirus case ( i have heard the lawyer is extubated and doing well ). It should be noted that the same lawyer is part of a jewish congregation that many of my fellow colleagues attend. I know multiple doctors who have contracted the virus over 2 weeks ago and are back to full health. Again my real concern is for younger patients who have been presenting with an ARDS ( acute respiratory distress syndrome ) picture. Also to reiterate the point that people who have mild symptoms like cough / low grade fever are probably spreading the virus without even knowing it. I again think the smartest thing we did is the quarantine to ” flatten the curve.” Overall though with the rate of the disease spreading I agree this is going to be around for a while. Another point to make is. Coronavirus is not new. Every winter I diagnose multiple cases however every winter the strain mutates. If you recall H1N1 it basically means that the subtype of the virus is changing. This is the theory behind the flu vaccine : every year the flu vaccine consists of the 2 most common subtypes of the flu from the previous year and then they throw in another random subtype. For my family and friends who are concerned about me. Don’t be : ) Life works in mysterious ways. I have been trained by the best city in the world. My hospital has provided me with the safest work environment. Our staff is vigilant, my focus is on point. I am doing what I have always wanted to do. Help those who need it most and provide them with reassurance that everything will be just fine. Stay safe everyone ! Manny Fajardo MD
Adams county residents came outside between 8:00 and 8:02 p.m. the last few nights to bang pots, ring bells, and holler support for the healthcare workers and all the other people who continue working for us in this time of need. Listen to our Music It was a show of solidarity and a moment to appreciate health care workers everywhere. Join us tonight, and every night until this crisis ends. Any kind of bell or wind chime or even a pot and a wooden spoon or singing will make a difference. This is a growing trend that will remind us that we are all in this together.
It’s all so overwhelming. The Big Picture, at least as much of it as I can see, absolutely paralyzes me. What can I do? Well, for starters, what do I have to work with Right Here, Right Now? Well, what I mostly see is (drumroll) unbounded wealth! I live modestly, but have enough money in my pocket for now, with change I’d gladly invest in worthwhile local ventures. In my immediate neighborhood, and certainly in my larger community, I see vast resources that are held and embodied by the people here. Much of this talent and intelligence is already so much a part of our lives here that we take it for granted. It’s woven into the fabric of our being. Foundational to our Life Together. It’s just Who We Are. And it’s beautiful. And full of as-yet-untapped potential! “Take for granted.” Usually when we say that, don’t we really mean “don’t have to pay attention to?” But “granted” means “given.” So really it should mean to receive a gift with gratitude and appreciation, for which the appropriate response would be “thank you.” So far, I haven’t seen much of the economic impact of the Virus Crisus [yes, on purpose, but optional] locally, beyond bare grocery store shelves and mighty quiet streets here in Gettysburg. I’m sure we’ll all be seeing more of it Up Close and Personal very soon. Here’s where I expect our collective ingenuity and open-heartedness will kick in big time. Already is kicking. Nice to see people out walking the battlefield roads. Never mind the historical significance—not that the history isn’t important, just that it’s not The Main Thing for most of us right now. It’s an incredible gift to have the Park available to us as, well, a “park” (minus all the usual amenities of a park). Just for walking and biking. But that’s huge! Maybe, to show our gratitude, we who enjoy it could now become its voluntary caretakers—stop and move that small branch off the road, that kind of thing. Anything beyond that, contact NPS. Y’know, that ground had many other histories long before July 1, 1863. I’d like to learn more about them. Maybe now’s the time to show that there are other ways to “hallow ground,” i.e., “consecrate” it, than through violent bloodshed. “Blood meal” in the garden would be good. Occasional spontaneous meetings on the street—at an appropriate distance, of course—have suddenly become little celebrations of Neighborliness. Even “hi” to strangers means more now. Back to “What Can I Do?” (Hmm, that seems to have become a poem title.) I, by myself, can’t do much. I can only do so much. I can only do what I can do. Only I can do what I can do. I can do so much. I’ll do what I can.
Word has it that the community gardens at the Ag Center have been closed by Penn State Extension, for reasons we can easily understand and do not question. This means there may be a few disappointed, displaced wannabe gardeners who will need to get their fingers in the dirt somewhere else this year. Could you, or someone you know, spare a few square feet of ground for a guest to garden? You don’t have to be much of a prognosticator to imagine that we may be encountering food supply chain disruptions in the foreseeable future. If we believed that, what kinds of adaptive workarounds would we be developing? Well, maybe we’d put more energy and resources into producing and distributing even more of our food locally than we already do! Maybe we’d be on the lookout for new opportunities to match emergent needs with untapped, possibly unknown-till-now resources, one-on-one and beyond And we’re not starting from scratch here, by any means. We have a wealth of resources among us, human and otherwise. I’m eager to see how many new, innovative ways we can link these resources up!
It’s another new day here in Adams County in a week where things suddenly feel very different. Tuesday was St. Patrick’s day, which is usually a time of joy and celebration as spring approaches. But this week doesn’t feel like that. It’s the middle of the semester but the college students have already gone home for the year. The schools in the county are closed, as are the churches. Bars and restaurants are empty. The governor has ordered every business that is not essential for keeping us alive to close. People and businesses are facing severe financial losses. Our political leaders, including the president and governor, have asked us to do what we can – and what we can do is to stay home. And this week has brought the first cases of COVID-19 to our county. We must act now. The reason is simple: The virus is spreading rapidly and people are getting sick from it. Some people are getting really sick and need hospitalization. The Gettysburg Hospital is a small one. If even fifty people in the county need emergency care at the same time it will be overwhelmed. If there are one hundred or even five hundred sick people then I can’t imagine what it will be like. Please stay home so you don’t catch the virus. I have started this forum to allow you to express your needs, your ideas, your hopes and your concerns with Adams County residents. The forum is a safe and quiet place, away from the bustle of Facebook and Instagram, to be honest and forthcoming. It’s also a place where we can update each other with what we know and what we are doing to help others. News about the virus keeps coming and I keep updating the website. Please check in regularly. We’re in this together and I appreciate your support.
The decennial census has arrived, almost exactly at the same time as the possible impacts of the COVID-19 virus became evident. The near-shutdown is going to make everything about the count more complicated and puts pressure on everyone to complete their census count on their own and as soon as possible. The official “Census Day” is April 1, but the website opened for questions or to submit your form in mid-March. The Census hopes that most people will go online (www.my2020census.gov) and submit their information. A variety of follow-ups and alternatives have been planned, such as getting help or using a machine at the library or in person follow-ups to individuals who don’t fill out their form. But the ongoing health emergency is going to complicate all of these approaches. A complete census count is vitally important. Adams County typically has a 15-20% undercount and that costs us money and political power. The census count is used to determine how much representation we have in Congress and in Harrisburg. Whether our representatives are Republicans or Democrats, we want Adams County to speak with as loud a voice as possible in Washington and Harrisburg. The census is also used to determine distribution of billions of dollars of federal and state funds, for schools, roads, and other purposes. Anyone who we miss in the census count is a loss of funding that we need. While the health emergency is going to make the census more challenging, an accurate census count also helps us prepare better for an emergency. Census results can be used to identify at-risk areas and populations (flood damage, storm vulnerability, concentrations of at-risk citizens, concentrations of homeless people, etc.), areas lacking hospital services or hospitals that lack sufficient equipment and staff, evacuation routes, and likely distribution points for emergency supplies. Surveys of manufacturers can help identify alternative sources for vital equipment that’s in short supply, labor shortages or surpluses, and many other things.