(Alexandria, MN) After another challenging start to the week with regard to COIVD-19 infections and deaths, it is causing the Douglas County Health Care Professionals and Horizon Public Health to reach out to the public. the following is the statement they issued Monday, November 16th.
Dear Community Members,
On behalf of our employees, health care providers and public health professionals we want to thank you for everything you have done to help us slow the spread of the virus to this point. We want you to know that the surge that we have been preparing for is here. The recent significant rise in cases in our community is having an impact on many of our systems, including hospitalizations. Cases in Douglas County are now growing at one of the fastest rates in the state and our case rate per 10,000 is higher than the state average (11/16/2020 Douglas = 453 vs Minnesota = 407). Despite all that we are doing we anticipate the weeks ahead will bring additional cases and challenges. Of the 1,728 cases to date (11/16/20) over half of them (59%) have come in the last 3 weeks. The rise in cases has a significant impact on our community and health care system. Workforces are inevitably affected due to exposure or illness. Staffing and critical care bed challenges are becoming a reality. The virus is especially harmful to our elder and vulnerable populations. We all have older family members and know people with chronic diseases. We want them to be safe and able to receive health care when the need arises. We need everyone to come together to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition to protecting our most vulnerable, we can help our business, industry and educational community. Our best tools to slow the virus spread right now include staying home when you are sick, wearing a mask, avoiding gatherings with those who do not live in your household, maintaining social distancing and washing your hands. With the holidays approaching we know it may be tempting to congregate with family to celebrate. These gatherings can be a significant source of spread so we encourage you to consider safer alternatives to connect with your loved ones during this time of rapid case increase and community spread. Until a safe and effective vaccine is approved and available we have limited ways to fight this virus. We are incredibly grateful for every one of our front line workers who have been working for months now to provide a safe place to receive healthcare and to be ready to care for patients in this highly complex situation. Day after day, they rise to the occasion and give more. We are all in this together. Please continue to take care of yourselves, support one another through acts of kindness this season and mask up to safeguard our family, friends and community.
The statement was signed by Dr. Deb Dittberner (Alomere Health), Dr. Bruce Evink (Sanford Health-Alexandria Clinic), and Ann Stehn (Horizon Public Health).