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Essential care protecting health in this crisis

Great Lakes Bay Health Centers continue to serve as a vital part of our community’s health care safety net during this emergency. By maintaining our ability to treat patients, we can help relieve some of the congestion of patients seeking treatment at our local hospitals.

Although the number of patients we are seeing is reduced, we are still caring for thousands of vulnerable people across the region who need our support to manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma; to maintain healthy pregnancies or take care of new babies; to receive necessary dental treatment and to continue behavioral health counseling in this stressful time. We can listen to them, address their fears and help them stay home.

Many of our care providers are using telehealth options to conduct virtual visits and counseling with hundreds of patients. Some services are temporarily unavailable so we can protect our staff and patients as much as possible.

We are partnering with the Saginaw County Health Department to provide drive-through Covid-19 sample collection for testing in the parking lot of our downtown Saginaw Administrative offices. This started March 24 with staff set up with a tent and our dental bus. We also have volunteer students from CMU Medical School assisting with logistics.
Anyone from the community is able to get a sample taken at the site but must have a lab order from a provider. We are working with Quest labs to test the samples. Demand for the service continues to build and the site will be open from 9 am to 3 pm weekdays. Soon we will be able to use telehealth to screen people who don’t have a doctor but are struggling with symptoms. We also are working to expand to other counties.

Care providers and all staff at Great Lakes Bay Health Centers are stepping up tremendously to keep centers operating safely for themselves and patients. We are following the guidelines of the CDC and the Governor’s orders. They are on the front lines of the crisis. Sometimes that means bringing in staff at 8 pm on a Sunday to prepare and set up for operations under new conditions. As one manager said: “We will continue to work together as a team and get through this safely one day at a time.”

How can I help?

Patients need your support: We so appreciate your support of our mission to change lives – and to save lives. This is a very challenging time for everyone. It puts unique pressures on our healthcare system. This emergency is putting our health centers at risk because we are not able to see as many regular patients, and we are facing unanticipated costs. Please consider making a donation now at

Please contact Jill Armentrout at
or (989) 759-6479 if you have other questions or thoughts.

Stay Home and Stay Safe



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Get the Facts on COVID-19 the Coronavirus

To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, following are some of the strategies being recommended.
Information about this outbreak is changing rapidly. Please make sure you call into your provider’s office before stopping into a location.

The latest information is available at and

To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, following are some of the strategies that are being recommended. Information about this outbreak is changing rapidly. Please make sure you call into your providers office before stopping into a location.

  • Learn about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
  • STAY HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK, and Individuals at risk of severe illness should consider staying at home to avoid others who are sick.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, keyboards, cell phones and light switches.
  • Communicate and reinforce best practices for washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Be sure to maintain a supply of medications, food, and other essentials in your house.
  • Cancel or postpone large gatherings, conferences and sporting events (e.g. events with over 100 people).
  • Reduce in-person gatherings and activities, especially for organizations with individuals at risk of severe illness. Consider offering video or audio of events.
  • Consider tele-learning or tele-work opportunities, where feasible.
  • Limit non-essential work travel.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
  • Limit visitors at hospitals and other facilities to only those who are absolutely necessary and implement screening of visitors for temperature and respiratory symptoms.

Information about this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

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Think you missed the Great American Smokeout? Think again

You can still add a smoke-free day to your holiday wish list for yourself


You’ve probably heard the term “nobody likes a quitter.” On Nov. 21 of every year, however, being a quitter makes you a winner.

The Great American Smokeout, a program hosted by the American Cancer Society, or ACS, has been encouraging smokers for more than 40 years to drop the habit for just one day. After one tobacco-free day, smokers can take the next step and kick the habit for good. Thousands of people participated in this year’s Great American Smokeout.

Think you missed your chance? Never fear; it’s the most wonderful time of the year … to make a resolution to take a step toward better health, for you and the loved ones you’ll be gathering with over the coming weeks.

Did you know?

According to the ACS, about 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of their smoking, the society reports. Each year more than 480,000 people in the United States die from illnesses caused by smoking. This means smoking causes about 1 out of 5 deaths in the United States each year.

Don’t feel bad if you’re having a tough time giving up the habit. Giving up cigarettes, cigars or hookahs is not easy. According to Medical News Today, nicotine is as difficult as giving up heroin. The Mayo Clinic explains nicotine dependence this way: “Nicotine produces physical and mood-altering effects in your brain that are temporarily pleasing. These effects make you want to use tobacco and lead to dependence.”

It can be a tough habit to break, but the ACS gives smokers tips on how to quit for just one day, which could lead to a smoke-free lifetime.

If you’ve decided to quit using tobacco – and that is a very personal decision – experts say you should set a date for quitting, make a plan and stick to that plan. Here are some tips:

  • Pick the date and mark it on your calendar.
  • Tell friends and family about your quit day.
  • Get rid of all the cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and at work.
  • Stock up on oral substitutes – sugarless gum, carrot sticks, hard candy, cinnamon sticks, coffee stirrers, straws and/or toothpicks.
  • Decide on a plan. Will you use nicotine replacement therapy (gum and patches) or other medicines? Will you attend a stop-smoking class? If so, sign up now.
  • Practice saying, “No, thank you. I don’t smoke.”
  • Set up a support system. This could be a group program or a friend or family member who has successfully quit and is willing to help you.
  • Ask family and friends who still smoke not to smoke around you, and not to leave cigarettes out where you can see them.
  • If you are using bupropion or varenicline, take your dose each day leading up to your quit day.
  • Think about your past attempts to quit. Try to figure out what worked and what didn’t.

You’re not alone

Although kicking the smoking habit is hard, it’s not impossible. According to a recent Healthline article, 40% of former smokers who succeeded in quitting attributed their success to having a support system in place. On top of friends or family, here are some additional resources you could consider:

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November is National Family Caregivers Month

It’s said that some jobs are less of a career than a calling.

If true, at the top of that list has to be the caregiver – a person whose wide-ranging responsibilities can be boiled down to dedicating oneself to meet the needs of another person. Being a caregiver means much more than meeting the physical, mental and sometimes medical needs of someone. There is also the incalculable emotional investment and support the caregiver provides.

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a celebration and recognition that was deservingly expanded from National Family Caregivers Week by an annual presidential proclamation since at least 2000. According to a 2015 study compiled by the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, adults of all ages and ethnicities are among the ranks of family caregivers, with almost half of those being adult children caring for their parents and 1 in 5 being the caregiver of a spouse.

Although the mere act of caregiving can be a rewarding experience of selflessness and sacrifice, it can also be an extremely stressful and emotionally depleting experience. The challenges family caregivers face can often be accompanied by feelings of depression or isolation, being overwhelmed and helplessness and many family caregivers feel they have no one to turn to in order to express what they’re experiencing.

All of those issues can lead to more critical health concerns for an individual caring for another person, which begs the question: Who is caring for the caregiver? The Mayo Clinic has compiled the following strategies to help caregivers manage the stress of their service:

  • Accept help.Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you, and let the helper choose what he or she would like to do depending on that individual’s schedule.
  • Focus on what you can provide.Understand that no one is a perfect caregiver. Believe that you are doing the best you can and making the best decisions you can at any given time.
  • Set realistic goals. Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine. Begin to say no to requests that are draining, such as hosting holiday meals.
  • Get connected.Find out about caregiving resources in your community. Caregiving services such as transportation, meal delivery, or housekeeping may be available.
  • Join a support group. People in support groups understand what you may be going through. A support group can also be a good place to create meaningful friendships.
  • Seek social support.Make an effort to stay well-connected with family and friends who can offer nonjudgmental emotional support.
  • Set personal health goals.Set goals to establish a good sleep routine, find time to be physically active on most days of the week, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.

If stress continues, seek advice from a doctor and mention the concerns and symptoms you have. Great Lakes Bay Health Centers provides physician services and support across the Great Lakes Bay Region and can connect you with the medical care you need for any situation. Visit for more information.

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