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We must all do our part to stop COVID-19

To the editor:

As the physician and nursing leaders of hospitals and health systems throughout Minnesota, we have an important message to share regarding stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Hospitals, health systems and health care providers are watching with growing concern as COVID-19 cases quickly increase in Minnesota, fueled by broad community spread in all parts of the state. Demand for hospital care is increasing in both medical-surgical and intensive care units, and the percentage of beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 is growing.

The high level of community transmission means that our health care heroes – including nurses, doctors, therapists, pharmacists, support services, housekeeping, technicians, advanced practice providers and many more – are contracting COVID-19 as they go about their daily lives in our communities. Reducing and preventing community spread is critical to helping keep our health care heroes healthy and able to care for patients.

For the past many months, hospitals, health systems and the Minnesota Hospital Association have joined with Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health to urge Minnesotans to do their part to help slow community spread. Simple public health best practices including physically distancing at least 6 feet from others, washing hands frequently and wearing a mask in public can help break the chain of transmission.

Our hospitals and health systems are working to keep our patients, visitors and health care workers safe by requiring staff, patients and visitors to follow public safety protocols, including mask-wearing and screenings upon entry to our facilities. We urge Minnesotans to exercise this same care as they interact in the community.

Minnesotans must do all we can now to reduce the community spread of COVID-19. As we did at the beginning of this pandemic, we each need to do our part and protect our health care heroes, our family members and our communities.

(This statement has been signed by 200 health care professionals from throughout the state, including Jennifer Brehmer, RN, Director of Patient Care, and Andrew Reeves, M.D., Director of Medical Affairs, New Ulm Medical Center)

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