Health and Wellness Potpourri—Fall 2021

Bethellutheranchurch   -  

By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse

Autumn day, autumn day,
God gives richest gifts today.
Look on ev’ry side and see
Pleasant things for you and me.
Apples red and apples yellow,
Round and juicy, sweet and mellow,
Load the trees till they bend over
And their branches brush the clover.
Child, be glad with all that lives,
But forget not God, who gives.

Words and music: Grace Wilbur Conant, 1858–1948

 

I love fall! The recent weather has been perfect as far as I am concerned—pleasant days and cool nights. The leaves are changing. Kids are back in school. There is a refreshing breeze. Autumn is truly a time of change. This month’s article is a potpourri of some things that you should be aware of happening at Bethel and with COVID-19.

Blood Pressure Screening

Blood pressure screening will resume on Sunday, September 26. The screening will be done on a first-come-first-serve basis and held in the office conference room from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Following this initial screening, it will continue to be done on the 4th Sunday of each month from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. December’s screening may take place on a different Sunday during the month because of Christmas—stay tuned for additional information. Masks are required.

Flu Shots

In collaboration with Hy-Vee, Bethel will be holding a Flu Shot Clinic on Sunday, October 10 from 10:00 a.m. until 12 noon. This will take place in the conference room in the office. Flu shots will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Please bring insurance information with you to complete the paperwork. Be sure to wear a mask.

Health and Wellness Activities

The summer season’s health and wellness activities have ended, but there are still opportunities this fall. The Holy Strollers (Bethel’s walking group) will meet through October on Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. at various locations throughout Rochester for (approximately) an hour walk. The Bethel Hikers will have a fall hike at Great River Bluffs State Park near Winona on October 2. Please let Kathy Ferguson (ferguson@bethellutheran.com) know if you would like more information or would like to participate in either of these groups.

COVID-19

Yes, COVID is still here. I would like to thank all of you for wearing masks at Bethel! Believe me, no one likes to wear masks and it is not a pleasant experience for some people. But, it is the right thing to do to prevent the spread of COVID. We are protecting our neighbors who are not able to get a vaccine (children under 12 or with allergies to components of the vaccine), those who are not able to develop effective immunity after getting the vaccine (people with certain health conditions), and those who choose not to get the vaccine for whatever reason (yes, we want to protect them too).

There was a recent Q&A video produced by Olmsted County Public Health with Graham Briggs, Director of Olmsted County Public Health Services; Leah Espinda-Brandt, Public Health Nurse; Dr. Randy Hemann, Olmsted Medical Center; and Dr. Elie Berbari, Mayo Clinic, answering questions submitted by Olmsted County citizens. I found several important pieces of information in this video that you may also find helpful. You can view the video at this location: https://live-olmsted-county.pantheonsite.io/covid

In this video, the presenters talked about how preventing the spread of COVID can’t be accomplished by just wearing a mask or just getting the vaccine or just washing/sanitizing our hands. It is a multi-tiered approach that when done together, can help lower (but not eliminate) the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

They mentioned three things we all should do:

  1. Get vaccinated
  2. Wear a mask indoors or at large outdoor public gatherings
  3. Wash your hands/sanitize your hands

Of course, there are other things that you should also be doing, including staying home if sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and maintaining adequate distance between yourself and others.

There is good news according to recent 7-day data from Olmsted County. According to the CDC (on 9/14/2021 at 8:00 a.m.), over the past 7 days in Olmsted County, the number of new COVID-19 cases decreased by 24.47%, the percent of positive cases in those tested decreased by 1.35% (now at 5.97%), and new hospital admissions related to COVID-19 decreased by 15.2%. This is great news! We still need to watch the data to see if this trend continues, but it was great to see these numbers and I am hopeful that it will continue. We continue hearing about new COVID-19 variants. The latest being the Mu variant. It is being watched closely by the CDC.

I have also been reflecting on “things returning to normal”. With the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, I was remembering my emotions from that day. I recall saying to a coworker on September 11, 2001, “Our world is never going to be the same again.” I feel the same can be said about COVID-19—including all aspects of what has occurred since the onset of this pandemic. I am longing for things to “return to normal” so I can travel without hesitation. I think that each of us must ask ourselves, “What level of risk am I willing to take?” That is also the thing that Bethel is grappling with, “What level of risk is Bethel willing to take?” Please pray for all of us on the Reengagement Team as we use the information available to us to make the best decisions we can while balancing risk and safety.

Be well. Get the vaccine. Wear a mask.