Tuesday 24 November, 2020

Cayman's Dr Denise Osterloh talks coronavirus

Dr Denise Osterloh

Dr Denise Osterloh

by Juliette Heath

Denise Osterloh, a well-known and loved Caymanian medical Doctor and resident admitted she was not surprised at the confirmation of a COVID-19 case in Cayman. 

“We are a small community with a huge travel-associated connection.  It was only a matter of time," she said.

Loop sat down with Dr Osterloh to discuss the new virus and how the community can protect itself.

Here are a few of Dr Osterloh's thoughts on this virus that has put the world on pause.

On how to avoid catching the virus...

"Whilst there is an unknown element to this, we do know that certain procedures; for example, washing hands properly, not touching one's face, mouth or nose, and social distancing is paramount in preventing the spread of the virus."   

On how the virus has impacted her practice...

"Our medical practice at Cayman Clinic has already been impacted in that we have an obligation to all to keep people safe, keeping everyone up to date with new developments and making sure our clinic has strict rules especially related to COVID-19.  As such, we are asking if people have a fever/ sore throat, cough, shortness of breath or diarrhoea or have a travel history and/ or COVID-19 exposure, to contact us via phone or email and we will advise accordingly.  If they do present at the clinic we have a sign on our door advising them further and if they do enter we will enforce masks and advise accordingly.  At present there is a flu clinic at Georgetown Hospital (GTH) with a 24-hour hotline/ email and info can be found at www.hsa.ky."   

On how Cayman's medical community has responded...

"At present, all doctors on the island are in constant contact with each other via a Whatsapp trying to troubleshoot the issues at hand.  We realize the seriousness of this and have pledged our support to Public Health/ GTH and to the public.  We stand together in caring for all in the community."

Her thoughts on the pandemic...  

"My biggest concern is the uncertainty of it all.  Whilst we know that the majority of people who contract coronavirus will have a mild respiratory illness, there is, of course, the fear of death especially for high-risk patients such as the elderly, people with chronic lung conditions and other medical concerns.  These people should already be in isolation away from the general public.  Their family members need to restrict contact with them especially if they are still moving around the Island.  To make this work people really do need to stay at home and restrict who is going out to buy food, etc.  If we want to make this work we have to do this properly and that means everyone has to stay calm, listen and put into practice what is advised.  We can only do this if the public listens to the guidelines and implements them.  Channel the fear of the unknown into active action to prevent.    COVID-19 is here, for how long will depend on how we all as a community take drastic steps to contain it.  Yes, there will be long term impacts on everyone be it health/ economic or other."

Her advice...

"I advise people to stay calm, stay home, work remotely if possible, practice safe hygiene procedures already outlined, self-isolate if concerned.  Speak to a health care professional if in doubt.  Stay away from crowds, practice social distancing (4-6ft) and be aware of always washing hands and not touching your face.  Keep yourself updated with the CDC website/ HSA website as the information can differ daily.  Be mindful to others.”

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