Be thankful and continue being diligent and responsible | Opinion

To our neighbors, patients and community members: As we enter the winter months, the effects

To our neighbors, patients and community members:

As we enter the winter months, the effects of COVID-19 are more apparent than ever in our community and within our hospital.

Each week, we are reaching higher levels of positive COVID-19 cases and increased hospitalizations in Laramie and across Wyoming. We all play a part in slowing the spread of the virus in our community and I urge you to wear a mask, practice social distancing from others and wash your hands.

As a community, we are seeing positive cases and exposures have an increasing impact on businesses and the services they provide. In response to growing cases, the University of Wyoming moved the remainder of its semester online a week earlier than planned. They have encouraged students to leave campus early and staff to work from home when possible. The City of Laramie has also enacted heightened precautions, closing several services to walk-in business for the safety of city employees and those they serve.

At Ivinson, we to continue to provide the best care to our community. We have had countless members of our team train in areas outside of their own in order to lend a hand if more staffing is needed in other units. We have adapted our patient parking garage to take on a growing number of patients requiring drive-up COVID-19 testing. Our team has erected heated stations for testing attendants that will allow us to continue drive-up testing through the winter months.

The outpatient services that our patients and community rely on remain open and have adapted to protect our staff and patients. When you come to Ivinson, we require patients and visitors to wear a face covering in adherence to public health orders. We have enhanced our screening tools to ensure the safety of our patients being treated at our facility as well as our staff. We have also implemented a new streamlined process to care for patients that have had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 14 days. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, have a pending result, have current symptoms or have been exposed to a known positive, we ask that you to refrain from visiting our facility unless you are seeking care. The health and safety of our community has always been a top priority at Ivinson and these processes have been put in place to ensure that.

With the holidays right around the corner, now is the time to consider how we can celebrate without putting ourselves or others at risk. As you make your plans for the holidays, do not leave safety on the back burner. Traditions will look different this year; your dinner table may be a bit smaller than in years past, but you can be thankful while protecting yourself and your community. Your plans may be as simple as a small dinner with those you live with, watching football on the couch or a Thanksgiving Zoom with relatives.

Whatever your plans may be, I am thankful for all those celebrating responsibly. This is not the holiday we planned for but that does not detract from the season itself. If 2020 has taught us anything, we have much to be thankful for. I am grateful for this community and the continued support you have given our healthcare workers and hospital as we navigate COVID-19.

Doug Faus

Doug Faus is the chief executive officer at Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

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