Below is a letter to the editor printed in the April 30, 2020 Country Journal followed by Ideas for Staying Healthy from the Health Center:
Hilltown Community Health Center (HCHC) continues to work diligently to safely meet the needs of our communities during this difficult time. We are continuously assessing our practice to maximize the clinical services that we can safely provide, including medical, dental, behavioral health, and eye care.
For anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and body aches, please call your primary care provider (PCP) immediately. Testing availability has expanded dramatically in the last two weeks, and patients can be referred by their PCP to one of several testing sites in the Valley. HCHC providers are remaining in close contact with patients who have tested positive, and are working closely with local contact tracing efforts. Please do not attempt to treat your symptoms yourself, but always consult with a medical professional.
Many of our services are currently being provided over the phone, but we are working to create a platform for video visits that maintains privacy for patients while expanding our ability to care for them. We know that in the Hilltowns, video visits are difficult for many and are therefore pushing our state and federal leaders to maintain access through phone-only visits.
We are still providing on-site visits in Worthington, Huntington, and Amherst for patients whose provider says they need to be seen in person. We are also providing well-child visits (including vaccinations) for children under the age of two and are exploring ways of ensuring that older children can continue to receive their vaccinations as well.
Please do not delay necessary medical care – if you are experiencing symptoms of serious conditions such as heart attack, stroke, or appendicitis, please call 911. Emergency Departments are safe and ready to help you. And please call your PCP for any other medical issue – don’t wait until it’s too late.
HCHC is also continuing to help anyone who need assistance with their non-clinical needs, including health insurance, food, housing, and income assistance. All of the Health Center’s Community programs are meeting with clients remotely. If you have any general questions, or are having difficulty reaching any staff, please don’t hesitate to call Kim Savery at 413-685-3500. Specific programs include:
- Health Access Team (Health Insurance Navigators): 667-2203 ext.313, The team wants you to know that they are there to help. They are seeing a sizable number of people who have changed economic circumstances due to loss of employment or other factors and many people don’t realize that they may be eligible for secondary MassHealth or other options. Please call with questions, and they will assist you.
- Hilltown Safety at Home (Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy): 667-2203 ext. 341. Emergency assistance, safety planning, court preparation, education, children’s services or just a sympathetic ear to listen.
- Hilltown Family Center (Family support): 667-2203 ext. 311 Children’s activities, support for parents
- Healthwise (Community Health Workers): 667-2203 ext.321. Access to resources and support. CHWs will assist with applications (i.e. Unemployment, TAFDC, SNAP, etc.), food access, housing as well as Chronic Disease self- management and other health needs. Call us and we can help!
Finally, HCHC is committed to reopening our services when it is safe to do so for our staff and patients. We are following the guidance of state and federal authorities, and will keep you informed as service availability changes.
Ideas for Staying Healthy in Isolation
Get Outside: We are so fortunate to live in an area with a wealth of hiking and walking resources. Go outside provided you can follow social distancing guidelines.
Dance Party: If you have children get them involved in some cardio by putting on their favorite song and get the whole family moving!
APPS and Youtube exercises: Try downloading “Seven” on your phone. It will give you quick and easy seven-minute workouts on your phone daily. They have a subscription program, but you DO NOT have to purchase to use the app with limited features. On the page asking you to subscribe you can click an “x” on the top right of the screen. https://seven.app/
Follow this link to a 15-minute workout for the whole family on youtube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5if4cjO5nxo
Movies: Amherst Cinema is offering “virtual screenings.” The ticket price is split between the filmmaker and Amherst Cinema so you can support a local business, the artist who made the film and take a break! Follow the link below to check out this week’s showings. DISCLAIMER: POPCORN NOT INCLUDED!
Music: Paste Magazine has an extensive archive of live concert recordings from a wide range of artists. Turn off the news and turn on some music and dance like no one is watching except maybe your partner, kids or pets!
If rock and pop are not your preferred musical genres, then maybe The Chamber Music Society has something you may enjoy. They have featured two performances this week that focus on music to “brighten the soul” which I think we could all use! Finally, I can go to the symphony without dry cleaning my suit!
Art Education: Local author, illustrator and animator, Mo Willems is inviting us daily into his studio and teaching children of all ages to draw and doodle! The episodes are broadcast daily at 1:00 EST so on days the BH Dept. isn’t offering Yoga or Mindfulness (dates and times below) you can learn to NOODLE while you eat your DOODLES, or something like that.
Netflix Party: If you have a laptop or desktop computer and Google Chrome you can download “Netflix Party” and gather a group of friends to watch a movie together. The service syncs video playback and offers a chat function so you can all simultaneously yell, “DON’T GO THROUGH THAT DOOR!”
30 day LEGO challenge: Attached to this email is a 30 day LEGO challenge! Great for kids and kids at heart! I am even a little upset all my LEGOs are quarantined at the school right now!
This video made by Dr. Jud Brewer offers information about anxiety and ways to work with it.
The Ten Percent Happier App offers information about mindfulness and meditation. The app provides high quality guided meditations, courses and access to qualified mindfulness coaches. They are offering free 6 month memberships for healthcare workers during this crisis. If you would like a membership, email email@example.com to get access.
Inbody Yoga Academy is offering free virtual yoga on their Facebook pages. Classes range in level of difficulty and style of instruction.
Kim Krans offers free “draw the feeling” classes on Instagram Live over the weekends. These classes are great for kids and adults who can follow verbal prompts and all level of artistic ability. See her account for posted times of upcoming classes.
The Northampton Center for the Arts is offering free online dance classes through Vimeo, donations accepted at Venmo @Northampton-CenterForTheArts.
Check out Samantha Van Blerkom on YouTube for free yoga classes and teaching
Dancing alone together is offering hundreds of free dance classes online (no experience necessary)
Yoga and meditation
Inbody Yoga Academy is offering free daily yoga classes: https://www.inbodyyogaacademy.com/
Two free online meditation classes:
- Feeling tired of cooking the same things? Wish that someone in the household might try something new? Through April 30th, Milkstreet is offering free online cooking classes:
- Need something to keep your kids busy that is also educational?
IMAGINE NATION Station is an online collection of art prompts, fun activities and guest artist features.
Tune in on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram between 11-12 pm, each Monday through Thursday, to discover a new creative prompt or lesson. And if you can’t make it at that time, it’s okay! Once posted, you’ll be able to access the prompt or lesson whenever you want by visiting the social media platform you like best.
While we are thinking first and foremost of the youth, everyone is welcome to participate:
- An article for adults (please excuse the language) that offers so many ideas to cope:
- Audible is offering lots of new audio books for free:
- Singing medical providers to lift up your spirits:
- New Yorkers clapping for essential workers:
- A museum challenge! Re-create famous paintings with whatever you have around the house! Take a look at what people have come up with so far, it’s pretty funny:
- Homemade mask making resources:
If you know anyone who likes to sew or wants to try, Joann fabrics is offering free supply kits to sew face masks:
And last but not least, here’s a printable picture that can be a reminder for your fridge, a coloring activity for you, or a bucket list type challenge project: