Letter to the Editor: Local healthcare providers need your help

To the Editor:

Our region is in its greatest fight against coronavirus. We are seeing increased infections, hospitalizations and deaths in our communities. Our staff are strained. Our testing sites have longer lines and higher positivity rates.

We were able to flatten the curve and avoid tragedy last spring and summer with your help. By masking, distancing and hand washing, we protected each other, limited the spread of the virus, and saved lives.

For a variety of reasons, we lost ground. To keep our friends and families healthy and ease the strain on our hospitals, we must rededicate ourselves to following established, proven safety measures. We have done it before. We can do it again.

While it is encouraging to see many of our neighbors and businesses adhering to the safety guidelines, it is greatly disappointing to see those who are not.

Local health systems remain open and safe for care of all types, but the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations threaten our ability to care for you.

If everyone does not avoid large gatherings in the community, wear a mask, keep distance from others, wash hands, and stay home when ill, we risk:
• Postponing or canceling surgeries, procedures and appointments
• Running out of beds to care for people who need immediate hospital care
• Not having enough staff to provide care to patients, COVID and non-COVID
• Preventable deaths in our communities.

This has been a long and hard several months. We know the end is not yet in sight. We know you are tired and want to resume a normal life. We are tired, too.

Now is not the time to let our guard down and suffer the fate of so many other communities across the state and nation. We have shown that we care enough about each other to work together to defeat this pandemic.

Your actions make a difference. Together, we will succeed.

Scott Rathgaber, MD
Chief Executive Officer
Gundersen Health System
 
Paul Mueller, MD
Regional Vice President
Mayo Clinic Health System

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