Managing for a different kind of disease
It has been a while since my last Field Insights Blog was posted on March 4, 2020 and a lot has changed. Following that post, life for me was pretty normal for about a week. I left work on Wednesday, March 11 feeling pretty good. That is about all I remembered for the next three weeks. On March 16, on my doctor's order, my wife took me to the Ohio State University Medical Center Emergency Room where I was admitted.
My symptoms included a high fever, coughing and difficulty in breathing. Within two days, I was diagnosted with COVID-19, the causal agent of the coronovirus. I was placed on a ventilator for two weeks. During that time, multiple therapies were tried, and I came down with pneumonia.
When I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), it didn't take long for me to realize I dodged the biggest bullet of my life. I had lost most of my fine and gross motor skills along with 20 plus pounds. I couldn't hold a plastic spoon let alone navigate it to my mouth. I was so weak that just pushing the button to call a nurse was a difficult, often impossible task. I went through a series of moves from the ICU to the COVID-19 floor and finally to the goal of this entire hospital journey - rehabilitation (Dodd Hall). I had to re-learn how to walk.
On April 16, I walked out unassisted with my wife from the hospital. And since then I have been recovering at home like many in a "Stay at Home" environment.
At this point, I am improving health and strength wise each day. I have returned to work - working from home - and even back doing this blog! Coronovirus has not only dominated my life these last few months, but most of the world and to some extent the golf course maintenance industry.
Disese control is a common practice in managing golf course turf. We implement practices that discourage the development and spread of the pathogen (ex. cultural practices), look for early signs of the disease, and when needed treat the disease. Coronovirus is not much different except for trying to keep our turf protected and healthy, we are focused on ourselves, staff, crew and associated families.
Photograph 1. Integral to managing a healthy turf is developing effective disease control practices.
The same applies to protecting ourselves, staff, and employees from coronovirus. The tools we have are sanitation, masks, social distancing, and being aware of potential symptoms.
The main practices that we have to reduce the infection rate and spread of COVID-19 are through social distancing, masks, santization of surfaces and equipment, and avoiding crowds (groups) of people. These practices are extremely important because we do not have a chemical or vaccine treatment.
In golf maintenance, avoiding groups and social distancing is often done naturally. Many of the daily practices are accomplished by a single individual, like mowing a putting green. Also, management practices are scheduled to avoid or interupting golfers thus reducing interactions with golfers. Problematic situations are when staff and crew congregate. Social distancing and masks, along with staggering meetings and gatherings can reduce the potential spread of this disease.
We do not have a treatment for coronovirus. Once a member of the staff or crew are infected quick identification and hopefully the practices we have put in place will limit the spread. Unfortunately, if we are lax in our attitude and preparation, we run the potential to cause harm to ourselves and employees. Take it from someone who has experienced the devastation that coronovirus can do...this is not the time to think the worse is behind us.
About the author
Dr. Karl Danneberger is a professor of Turfgrass Science at The Ohio State University. Dr. Danneberger's contact information can be found here. You may also follow Dr. Danneberger on Twitter: @GlobalTurf