‘Prepared, not scared’: Carver County mental health services accessible, available

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CHANHASSEN (swnewsmedia) – Carver County is preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases. “We do anticipate this getting worse before getting better,” said Richard Scott, deputy division director with Carver County’s Health & Human Services. “Our motto is, ‘Facts not fear. Prepared not scared.’” Public health initiatives have included public education on social distancing to flatten the curve. Carver County also has a COVID-19 call center (952-361-1559) although the number of calls has been relatively low, Scott said. “But I think it’s because people aren’t aware of the level of support at the call center. We’ve trained more people to have capacity to staff our help line. Usually, we have two to three but we’ve ramped up to handle a larger call volume.” “Our communication team is providing information on robust social media like Facebook and Twitter, and we’ve updated our Health and Human Services website,” Scott said. “One of our tools is symptom recognition — sorting out flu symptoms from COVID-19. That link on our website has gotten over 100,000 hits, more than anything else (as of April 3). And we have the potential to get more messaging out there.”The department also plans to do mailings, recognizing that not everyone in the county has access to the internet. “Our staff is prepared to help residents build resilience, provide advice on ways to stay healthy and to get enough rest, to limit alcohol consumption. They’re also prepared to direct people to where to find transit, ordering groceries and arranging pickup, and deliveries of food to your door.” Once COVID-19 tests are available, public health will work with Ridgeview Medical Center to offer the service. (The initiative was started a few weeks ago, but quickly suspended due to the lack of testing supplies a few weeks ago.)

‘ALL HANDS ON DECK’

Carver County activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Feb. 28. The EOC coordinates expertise regarding employment, financial needs, food, shelter, public health and safety. The EOC unifies the command of the counties and cities’ departments and services. “It’s a matter of getting all hands on deck across the county,” Scott said. “When it was first launched, it was for containment and realizing the impact this would have on fire departments, law enforcement, and public works. And then to the public health area,” Scott said. Carver County Health and Human Services department conducted an exercise last year in response to a similar pandemic scenario with the influenza. “You never know what you need to prepare for,” Scott said. “I like what Wayne Gretzky (former NHL hockey player and coach) always said,”‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ “The county’s mental health services staff continues to work with its mental health service clients, “Not face-to-face, but we’re still maintaining a full schedule with teletherapy, and the crisis team is prepared in regards to assistance and yet maintaining social distance,” he said. “All our behavioral services are fully operational,” Scott said, “And our school mental health team is working to reach out to our students and families.”

Carver County is preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases.“We do anticipate this getting worse before getting better,” said Richard Scott, deputy division director with Carver County’s Health & Human Services. “Our motto is, ‘Facts not fear. Prepared not scared.’”Public health initiatives have included public education on social distancing to flatten the curve.Carver County also has a COVID-19 call center (952-361-1559) although the number of calls has been relatively low, Scott said.”But I think it’s because people aren’t aware of the level of support at the call center. We’ve trained more people to have capacity to staff our help line. Usually, we have two to three but we’ve ramped up to handle a larger call volume.”“Our communication team is providing information on robust social media like Facebook and Twitter, and we’ve updated our Health and Human Services website,” Scott said. “One of our tools is symptom recognition — sorting out flu symptoms from COVID-19. That link on our website has gotten over 100,000 hits, more than anything else (as of April 3). And we have the potential to get more messaging out there.”The department also plans to do mailings, recognizing that not everyone in the county has access to the internet.“Our staff is prepared to help residents build resilience, provide advice on ways to stay healthy and to get enough rest, to limit alcohol consumption. They’re also prepared to direct people to where to find transit, ordering groceries and arranging pickup, and deliveries of food to your door.”

Once COVID-19 tests are available, public health will work with Ridgeview Medical Center to offer the service. (The initiative was started a few weeks ago, but quickly suspended due to the lack of testing supplies a few weeks ago.)

 

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