Dear people of Montgomery County, I am Dr. Shravan Gangula, Medical Director for the county health department. I would like to take this opportunity to connect with you all and remind you about the seriousness of COVID-19 in Montgomery County as well as the remaining South East Kansas. 

As your local health officer, I strive for each and everyone’s wellbeing and would want to remind you that the cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise in the county as well as the rest of SEK. I am here to assure you that COVID is true and real. The peak season for coronaviruses is fall and winter and we are already seeing the heat of it. It does not mean that COVID is not here just because you don’t see it personally. Your health care providers along with each and every single personnel in the health care facilities are working extremely hard to keep up with the rising number of patients being diagnosed as well as being admitted to the hospitals. 

I hereby ask your help to help us take care of the vulnerable patient population who contract COVID and get admitted to the hospital. The only way to prevent the steep rise in COVID cases is by MASKING UP, MAINTAINING GOOD HAND HYGIENE and AVOIDING MASS GATHERINGS. We need to come together as a community and get out of the current situation. This is not hard to achieve if each and every one of us follow the above mentioned simple measures. Please do not consider masking up as a taboo or as a sign of weakness. You will be doing a great honor to your community by masking up. Masking can actually decrease the amount of inoculum (infective particles) entering the body and can hence lessen the severity of the infection. 

The most common symptoms of COVID 19 are a dry cough, body aches, and fever. It can also present with diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, unexplained rash, headache, sore throat, nausea and vomiting. The symptoms can progress to worsening shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish discoloration of the lips or face which warrant hospital admission. 

I advise the patients with mild COVID symptoms to kindly quarantine at home and to call your doctor’s office for further directions about testing and management. Please follow the directions set forth by your hospital and heed the recommendations responsibly. If you are contacted by your local health department, please follow the recommendations religiously.

We can turn this around if everyone does their part in masking up, hand washing and social distancing. Let us all strive together to make this happen and regain back our freedom from COVID.