LMAS, hospitals make plea to residents

MANISTIQUE – In addition to the MDHHS order, on Tuesday, officials from area hospitals joined with the LMAS District Health Department to issue a plea to residents in light of the rising COVID-19 cases.

The release states:

“To say that 2020 has been a difficult year would be an understatement. We are writing to you today from Helen Newberry Joy Hospital, Mackinac Straits Health System, Munising Memorial Hospital, Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, and from LMAS District Health Department. We have been working together since late February to plan, prepare, and respond as we watched COVID-19 begin to spread nation to nation, state to state, and county to county.

Back in March, there were hearts on windows and banners declaring healthcare and public health workers as heroes, as we worked together to protect all in our communities. Many heeded the early messages to slow the spread of the virus, yet here we stand in mid-November with case numbers and hospitalizations spiraling upward at a rate that endangers, not only the health of others, but limits public health capacity to contain the spread and reduce hospitals’ ability to care for all patients in need of medical services whether for COVID, flu, heart attacks, or car accidents. Beyond healthcare and public health, the rising number of COVID-19 cases closes schools, extends restrictions, affects businesses and prolongs the amount of time before we can get back to normal.

The reasons that have brought us to this critical point include general COVID fatigue, political divisions, conspiracy theories, and, sadly, a growing lack of compassion for each other. Without broad cooperation and basic consideration for others, things are going to get much worse.

There are signs of hope with a promising vaccine on the horizon, but until that is widely available and widely accepted, we must continue to do the small things of wearing a mask that completely covers your mouth and nose, stay home when you don’t feel well, wash your hands, and please do not put yourself and others at risk by participating in any size gathering that includes anyone that does not live in your immediate household.

It is imperative that we all work together. This has been a long haul and we’re not done with COVID-19 yet. We must slow the spread of this virus, but it is up to you to choose to do the right things and have compassion for others even if it means you must make some small, personal sacrifices like wearing a mask and skipping a holiday gathering. These are small prices to pay to protect your life and the lives of others.”

The release is signed by Robert Crumb, CEO of Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital; Hunter Nostrant, CEO of Helen Newberry Joy Hospital and Healthcare Center; Nicolas Derusha, director and health officer of LMAS District Health Department; Karen Cheeseman, president and CEO of Mackinac Straits Health System; and Dr. John Reynolds, interim CEO of Munising Memorial Hospital.

Information about the COVID-19 pandemic may be found at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus, CDC.gov/Coronavirus, and lmasdhd.org.

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