University of Texas Medical Branch scientists and subspecialty physicians are committed to finding ways to treat and prevent COVID-19, and our Galveston County Health District epidemiologists are working day and night to track people exposed to the virus to limit the spread among unsuspecting individuals.

To the 17,700 patients who call Coastal Health & Wellness your primary medical home, we assure you we’re all in this together, and we will do our part to keep you safe and healthy. For those of you who aren’t our patients, your health care organization undoubtedly has a plan similar to ours.

During a crisis, it’s easy to focus on the health threat directly in front of us and ignore other health problems, but this is exactly what we shouldn’t do. Regular communication with your primary care provider and taking your medications can help keep you healthy enough to weather any health threat, including COVID-19, so although face-to-face visits are restricted, we’ll call you to manage your routine and acute needs.

Here are some important DOs and DON’Ts:

DO call us:

• If you have any health concerns at all. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much it helps to talk with a knowledgeable professional who will take the time to understand your concerns and offer guidance and support.

• If you’re feeling depressed or being plagued by worrisome thoughts. Even people who don’t usually have anxiety can feel anxious during uncertain times. We have behavioral health therapists ready and willing to help you find ways to manage your stress.

• If you typically use injectable contraception like Depo Provera and are coming due for your shot. We will absolutely see you for this once we screen you by telephone.

• If you have a dental concern. Our experienced dentists can manage most urgent dental issues.

DO NOT use emergency medical services unless it’s a true emergency. If you’re unsure, call us. Using emergency services for non-emergencies risks the lives of people who have true emergencies like heart attacks, strokes or serious trauma.

Finally, keep your distance to keep you safe. This virus is brand new to humans, so even healthy people have yet to develop immunity against it. Although elderly and other vulnerable people are always at higher risk of doing worse when getting infections of any kind, we don’t know who will be more susceptible to catching this and dying from it than others.

Scoffing at guidelines for social distancing is like playing Russian Roulette, but unlike Russian Roulette you could dodge the bullet of death yourself yet it could kill someone else, all because you played a deadly game. Do your part to keep the spread of COVID-19 as low as possible.

Here’s what will be amazing: Someday we’ll look back and know we did everything possible to keep our families and our community out of harm’s way, and it worked. Together, let’s make it happen.

Hanna Lindskog is the dental director, and Cynthia Ripsin is the medical director at Coastal Health & Wellness.

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