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October 24, 2021

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Covid-19 is no hoax. It's real

Scott Malaney: “ I’m bothered by the person whose attitude is, ‘I don’t care if I get sick.’ That’s a self-centered response to this illness.”

Covid-19 is no hoax. It’s real.

That’s the message to Bluffton residents from Scott Malaney, president and CEO of Blanchard Valley Health Systems, and Dr. William Kose, vice president of special projects at BVHS.

The Icon talked with the two health professionals in a Zoom interview on Friday afternoon.

Sounding like a broken record, but an important one, both encourage people to continue three basic rules:
• Wear a mask in public
• Keep a six-foot distance from others when in public
• Washing your hands regularly

And, while those three steps are important so is continuing to exercise, particularly out of doors. “Keep moving,” said Malaney, “don’t curtail that.”

Addresses those who refuses to put on a mask, Malaney said, “It’s a moral imperative to wear a mask. When you don’t wear one you potentially expose people who are older and more at risk. And, you are potentially exposing health care workers who need to take care of people.”

Pointing to the safety concern of health care workers, he said that we have to keep them safe because they are the ones who take care of you if you get sick.

Emphasizing that point, Malaney said that 15 percent of BVHS workforce has tested positive for covid-19 or is in quarantine. With a staff of about 3,200 that means 400 employees are not able to work.

Dr. Kose said that a major spreader of covid-19 appears to be social gatherings, where groups are together and not social distancing.

He added that everyone needs to remind others in a gentle way, and depending upon the situation, in a more direct way, about mask wearing in public.

Malaney said, “ I’m bothered by the person whose attitude is, ‘I don’t care if I get sick.’ That’s a self-center response to this illness.” Adding that, “We are seeing younger persons (who have contracted the illness) who may never be back to normal.” 

And, for persons awaiting a vaccine, while Malaney believes one is possible by December he thinks January or late spring is more realistic.

Both health professionals expressed concern about Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with potential social gatherings. 

Dr. Kose said that the virus has to have someone to jump to remain active, referring back to the three rules to keep the virus at bay. With the numbers of people getting sick, those are three things that everyone can do to stay safe.