Opinion | St. Anthony Summit Medical Center: A plea to our community to follow public health directives
Dr. Erin Beckerman, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center president of medical staff
Dr. Marc Doucette, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center emergency department medical director
We’re living through an unprecedented period, not only here in Summit County but around the world. Acutely aware of the anxiety many are feeling, it feels appropriate to update you on what’s happening at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center.
We’ve long been blessed with some of the best caregivers anywhere, but at no time has that been on better display than over these past couple weeks. We’re in awe and eternally grateful for the nurses, physicians, techs and other support staff who come to work each day to keep our hospital fully open and operational for Summit County’s sick and injured. They’re the same compassionate, exceptional caregivers they’ve always been, but they’re now operating under additional pressure as the COVID-19 pandemic grips our nation, our state and our community. It’s stressful, difficult work in usual times; it’s amplified exponentially now.
While there are still many unknowns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the illness it causes, we know enough to warrant taking strong and immediate action. Our community has an opportunity, if not an obligation, to make decisions — individually and collectively — today that can and will save lives here and beyond.
Our partners at Summit County Public Health and Summit County Emergency Management — in coordination with the Summit Board of County Commissioners and the towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon and Blue River — have enacted strict and necessary public health orders intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The guidance in these orders, including crucial health precautions such as social distancing, will help our community lessen the impact of COVID-19 on our fellow residents. But we all must heed these measures for them to be effective.
At St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, we’ve been preparing for COVID-19’s arrival in our community for more than two months. While we would not have predicted the state’s first positive case would come from a patient at our hospital, we feel fortunate to have had the staff, training and resources to care for that and other patients skillfully and carefully, and always in following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.
With other impacted countries as a guide, we know what COVID-19 can do to communities and their health care systems. As part of the Centura Health system, we are in daily contact with our community partners to share information, knowledge and resources. And though we have been allocated all the resources we need to meet our current needs, things can change quickly in times of public health emergencies.
This is, again, why our community must come together – today, tomorrow and in the weeks to come. Help us help everyone. The fewer people who contract and spread COVID-19, the more resources we are likely to have for the community members who will need it most. Please do the following, without exception:
- Follow public health directives to limit contact with others. Social distancing works, but only if we all practice it.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick. Staying home saves lives.
- If you are concerned you have COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you don’t have a health care provider, call our COVID-19 hotline at 888-540-8924.
- Only contact 911 for emergencies requiring immediate life-saving care and let them know if you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
- Know that testing for COVID-19 is limited. At the hospital, tests are being done only on individuals who need hospitalization and meet the testing criteria.
In addition to the great information and resources being provided through Summit County’s website and other platforms, please visit Centura.org/covid-19 for up-to-date information.
Finally, we want to call special attention to our community’s first-responders as well as to our partners at Summit County Public Health and every other agency and organization putting in long, difficult hours in the interest of others. We’ve also seen tremendous leadership from many in our businesses community, and we know that will continue during these difficult times. Standing together, we will get through this.
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