CCH Institutes Visitor Limitations and Screenings

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) becomes more of a concern in our State, Calais Community Hospital will institute visitor restrictions and illness screenings for those entering the facility as of March 18.  An alternate entrance for suspect Coronavirus patients has also been established.  These proactive precautions are to protect our patients, staff and the communities we serve. 

Temporary changes to our Visitors Policy are being implemented.  Restrictions include:

  • Visitors must be 12 years or older
  • Visitors must be free of flu like symptoms
  • No more than two visitors per patient.

Patients and visitors will be screened for symptoms of the flu and COVID-19.  You will not be permitted to enter if you exhibit signs or symptoms of an influenza-like illness.  These include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

There will be designated staff at entrances to guide this process.  Allow extra time if you are receiving outpatient services or visiting a patient.  Patients entering through the ED entrance will process through the normal triage process.  CRMS patients are being screened prior to appointments in the offices and upon arrival.   We understand these screenings may be an inconvenience, but it’s an important step to keep everyone safe and healthy.  

Last week the hospital established an alternate entrance for suspect Coronavirus patients to receive needed treatment or testing.   The entrance is located near the Ambulance Bay of the Emergency Department.  CCH has NOT had a positive test; however preparations such as this continue to move forward as the COVID-19 situation progresses.   The separate entrance allows quick access to care with the least exposure to the community and staff.  The process for patients who suspect they have COVID-19 is to call their primary care provider or the ED at 454-9213 for assessment and receive further instructions.   If you are having a medical emergency and call 911, please be sure to tell dispatch there is a COVID-19 concern so emergency services personnel use the appropriate precautions. These measures are part of taking every safeguard for maintaining the health of patients, staff, visitors and our community.   We ask for the public’s patience and support of these temporary measures.  Up to date information and guidance on COVID-19 is available on the CDC website:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

CEO Message on Coronavirus

To Our Valued Patients/Guests and Employees:

I am writing on behalf of the Calais Community Hospital (CCH) to assure you that the health and safety of our patients, guests, employees and community remains CCH’s top priority. As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is having a greater impact in the United States, our thoughts are with all people who have been affected by the virus. Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, we feel it is important to reach out to you about the steps we are taking across our Hospital to help keep our patients, guests, employees, and our communities safe and healthy.


As part of our high commitment to patient and employee safety, we established a COVID-19 committee in late January that meets weekly. Daily briefings will also be held with management and key staff as this issue is ramping up and quickly changing. Furthermore, we are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation with weekly and sometimes daily updates and guidance from the Federal and State Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), as well as additional government agencies and health care providers. We are also working closely with our partners throughout the medical industry such as the AHA, NRHA, Maine Hospital Association, etc.


Our excellent Environment of Care (EOC) staff rigorously clean all of our medical rooms, meeting rooms and all public spaces several times throughout the day. Furthermore, we follow exhaustive cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection protocols that meet or exceed medical industry guidelines. These protocols, which assist with illness prevention, include:
• Regular sanitation training and reinforcement for our EOC staff;
• Clearly established cleaning and disinfection cycles for all medical service areas;
• Prominent placement of hand sanitizers and masks;
• Fast response to on demand cleaning issues; and
• Frequent cleaning and wash down of nonmedical or public areas and high touch locations, such as railings, hallways, lobby, cafeteria, etc.


Therefore, given the current concerns related to COVID-19, we are increasing our cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection frequency above our already high standards. We are reinforcing with our employees the recommended personal hygiene and precautionary steps from the CDC to prevent the spread of germs, these guidelines include:
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Cover a cough or sneeze – preferably with a disposable tissue.
• Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
• Stay home if you have flu-like symptoms.


Moreover, we are taking the necessary steps to be prepared should this issue become a more significant concern for our service area. CCH will continue to implement preventive measures in line with the recommendations from the CDC and other health agencies as they come along. As the situation progresses, the hospital may need to limit patient visitors and/or document visitors in the event of a patient who is positive for COVID-19. Staff are following the recommended guidance of the CDC to assess and recommend treatment, while also working to limit exposure to the community at large. (see diagram below of protocols used to determine recommended treatment path).


Based on the guidance we’ve received and our general state of preparedness, we are confident our medical operations will continue to be safe and ready to serve our patients. We will continue our collaboration with health and government officials, so we are prepared to take whatever steps may be necessary to ensure the safety of our patients and staff members.


In closing, we greatly value each patient that comes to us for their medical care, and we look forward to serving you upon your next medical need.


Respectfully yours,
Rod Boula
CEO

CCH Establishes Coronavirus Work Group

Although the risk to the public remains low for the Coronavirus, Calais Community Hospital has been following the lead of the Maine CDC in preparing for the possibility of cases.    A work group was established last month at CCH to review processes and procedures to be instituted now and in the event of a local exposure.   The work group consists of staff from nursing, lab, environmental services, infection control, quality management and more.   It is a full team effort to get ready for just in case, even though the hope is that most of the plan never has to be activated.

What you can expect now if you seek treatment at the CCH ED or any of the CRMS offices are brief screening questions about symptoms and recent travel.     The goal of the screenings would be to identify as quickly as possible the need to isolate a patient from other patients and the general public to reduce the risk of spreading virus.  

The CCH work group follows CDC guidance for screening, testing and treatment if needed.    As of this week there are currently only fourteen cases diagnosed in the United States, with the closest being in Massachusetts.  Symptoms of the Coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath that can start two to fourteen days after exposure.    Anyone with symptoms should wear a face mask, avoid contact with others, not travel, wash hands often, and cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing.   Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms to allow the best precautions to be taken for intake to the facility.  Further information and updates is available on the Maine CDC website.

Coronavirus

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is providing information about the recent coronavirus outbreak that originated in central China. It’s important to note Maine has NO confirmed or suspected cases associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus. Five cases total have been identified in the United States as of January 27, 2020.

Maine CDC created and regularly updates a webpage with information about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Visit the webpage at: www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain that the immediate risk of contracting this novel virus remains low in the United States. There are currently advisories for travel to China, and airport screening for individuals returning from the affected area to provide education and medical support. The best preventive measures are to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and stay home when you feel sick.

Calais Community Medical Services Welcomes James Eshleman, D.O.

Dr. James Eshleman joins
CRMS Family Medicine

Calais Community Medical Services is pleased to announce that Dr. James Eshleman has joined the Family Medicine office.   He will be seeing patients at the CRMS practice on a part time basis 2-3 days per week.   Dr. Eshleman spent over four decades at his family practice office in Norway, Maine.  Following retirement he was able to spend more time at his vacation camp in West Grand Lake.   However, after three weeks he decided full retirement was not for him and reached out to Calais Community Hospital to offer his services.  

Dr. Eshleman earned his D.O. from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, PA and served his post graduate training at the Osteopathic Hospital of Maine in Portland.  He is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Geriatric Medicine.   He served as Medical Director at many of the nursing homes around the Norway, Maine area for over 40 years and served as a preceptor for Tufts Medical Students for 9 years. 

Dr. Eshleman’s family includes his wife of 46 years, Louise, six children, fourteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.   Much of the family remains in the State with a few scattered as far away as New Jersey and New York.   In their down time, he and his wife enjoy spending time at camp, hunting (which he describes as taking his gun for a walk) and fishing (he honestly confesses that Louise is better than he is).   With his semi-retirement he hopes to be able to travel and see Alaska, the Grand Canyon and Italy – for his wife, because “If she’s smiling, I’m smiling.”  

Dr. Eshleman states his experience in the area has been a positive one and he is very pleased to be here.  “I feel at home and I’m excited to bring my services to the area,” he shared.    Dr. Eshleman began seeing patients in December.  To schedule an appointment with him, call 454-8195, option 1.  Please give both Dr. & Mrs. Eshleman a warm welcome when the opportunity presents itself.

Basil to Pesto

Since moving my basil plants outside (thanks Kris), they have really flourished! With such an abundance of basil I figured a batch of pesto was in order. See my step by step process below or click here for a printable version of the recipe.

Pesto

Ingredients

2 cups fresh basil laves

2 cloves garlic

1/3 cup pine nuts

½ cup Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp. Pepper

½ cup Olive Oil

1.  Add the fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and pepper to the bowl of your food processor.  Pulse until a coarse mixture forms.

2.  Turn the food processor on low and slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.  Process until smooth.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: ¼ cup

Homemade                                                 Commercial

Calories: 368                                                   Calories: 290

Carbohydrates: 3 grams                                 Carbohydrates: 4 grams

Protein: 6 grams                                             Protein: 4 grams

Fat: 38 grams                                                  Fat: 29 grams

Sodium: 204 mgs.                                           Sodium: 960 mgs.

Note: Although fat content, and thus caloric content is higher in the homemade, the fat sources are heart healthy (nuts and olive oil) and sodium content in the homemade is significantly lower than in the commercial product.

Let’s Salsa!

With an abundance of garden tomatoes I thought Salsa was in order. Here is a link to printable version of the recipe: Salsa Recipe.

Salsa
Ingredients
6 Roma or garden tomatoes cut into quarters
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
½ large yellow or red onion peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
Juice of lime
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 tsp. cumin
Instructions
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until just chunky. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Refrigerate at least an hour to let the flavors meld.

Nutrition Information Comparison
Serving Size: ¼ cup
Homemade Salsa Bottled Salsa
Calories: 13 Calories: 20
Total Fat: 0 Total Fat: 0
Sodium: 18 mgs Sodium: 300 mgs.
Carbohydrates: 3 g Carbohydrates: 5 g
Protein: 0 Protein: 0

Diced Tomatoes

Since I am having a lot of great tomatoes this year I decided to put up some diced tomatoes.

Did you know that canned tomato products contain a lot of sodium? Two cups of canned diced tomatoes have around 840 mg sodium. Two cups of my diced tomatoes that I froze  have around 8 mgs of sodium.

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

By CCH Dietitian Mona Van Wart – I loved making this tomato ketchup. I thought it was really fun to do and the end product was fantastic . As I was making the ketchup,it took me back to my childhood when I was a little girl helping my Mom process vegetables from our gardens.

I do not use ketchup as a condiment, but I do have a couple of favorite recipes of my mother’s that uses ketchup as the main ingredient for the sauce. I decided instead of freezing the ketchup as I originally had planned I would make those recipes and then portion and freeze the end products for my lunches.

A pdf version of the recipe can be found on the Health Eating page or by clicking here.

Ingredients

6 pounds tomatoes (about 12 large tomatoes)

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup onion (finely chopped)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup cider vinegar

½ cup balsamic vinegar (I chose the kind that had 0 mgs. Sodium)

Cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Wash tomatoes.
  3. Halve the tomatoes, drizzle some olive oil over them, and place on 1-2 baking pans.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes or until they are soft and wrinkled looking, but not burnt.
  5. Let the tomatoes cool, and then transfer them to a blender or food processor and puree until they are smooth.  Process in small batches.
  6. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the sugar, keeping it moving with a spoon, for about a minute.
  7. Add the onion, garlic and the pureed roasted tomatoes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the three kinds of vinegar and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds.  The ketchup should be thick.
  9. Remove from heat and season to taste with the cayenne pepper, if desired.
  10. Strain the ketchup through a mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl. 
  11. To cool the ketchup, fill a large stockpot about halfway with a mixture of half ice, half water, and submerge the container in the ice bath to chill.  The ice-water level should come most of the way up the outside of the container, but don’t let any water into the ketchup. 
  12. Stir the ketchup occasionally until the temperature reaches 70°F on a thermometer.
  13. Then remove the container from the ice bath, cover and transfer to the refrigerator where it will keep for 3-5 days.
  14. Ketchup can be frozen in small freezer bags or containers, or I read that it can be put in ice cube trays and then put them in a freezer container.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)

1 serving = 1 Tbsp       Calories: 8      Fat: 0 g      Carbs: 2 g      Protein: <1 g      Sodium: <1 g

(Comparison – Store bought ketchup)

1 serving = 1 Tbsp       Calories: 19      Fat: 0 g     Carbs: 4.5 g     Protein: <1 g     Sodium: 154 mgs