The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Corey Fedie
East Adams Rural Healthcare 

Hospital CEO: We are here for you

An update from East Adams Rural Healthcare


Last updated 3/27/2020 at 7:07pm

It has been said many times that we are in uncharted waters.

Frankly, it is daunting and somewhat scary for many. So, I wanted to write a little bit to everyone in our community about this evolving situation with COVID-19 and our response.

As a foundational partner to caring for this community along with other private healthcare entities, the department of health, schools and other agencies local and distant, it is imperative to be united and to communicate. With so many closures of businesses and gatherings this becomes more difficult.

Thus my writing to you in the newspaper, on East Adams Rural Healthcare website and social media, in hopes the community will share with family, friends and neighbors.

As we move forward on this journey please know that even if our communication isn’t as frequent as we might like, or seems imperfect at times, we will strive to offer the best information we have available. This is important because the speed of changing data and recommendations is fast, often daily.

Second, it is extremely important that our community know we are taking steps to protect each of you.

We will be implementing a number of items to protect you by ensuring we have the staff and facilities available to provide the absolute best care.

At times, this may mean drive-thru clinics, visitor restrictions, cancellation of non-life threatening services, implementation of telehealth and others. We know this will be strange and uncomfortable, but necessary.

Third, there are a lot of unknowns.

Many have asked, “Why are we doing all of this? Why shut down business? Why limit gatherings if in the end we can’t stop it?”

These are all valid questions.

To start, I want to reiterate that it is true that we cannot stop the virus. The ultimate reason for these measures is to minimize the spread, thus minimizing the number of people getting sick and ultimately minimizing the number of people that die.

I think there are many that believe they won’t get very sick. The reality is that a great many more people appear to be carriers, with few or no significant symptoms. You feel pretty good, but unknowingly spread the virus.

Fourth, what is this “social distancing” and what does “flatten the curve mean?”

Social distancing is simply minimizing the exposure risk by creating enough distance from others so you do not come in contact with the virus. Flattening the curve refers to efforts slowing down the infection rate over a long period of time so the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed.

We have a finite number of hospital beds, equipment, supplies and staff designed for the average day-to-day healthcare of our community. If we have a major influx of COVID-19 patients, we will not be able to care for everyone as well as we would like. If we have this influx, our closest responding healthcare organization are likely to be overwhelmed as well.

If it is spread over time, we will be much better prepared to provide the care to you and your loved ones that they need.

What can you do?

Minimize gatherings and practice “social distancing.” It may not be about you, it’s about infecting our most vulnerable population (the elderly and the immunocompromised) who are at the greatest risk.

Wash your hands. sap and water are the best. Soap is superior, but the scrubbing part is essential.

Follow legitimate resources. There is a lot of information out there and quite a bit of it is simply not accurate. Here are a few sources to monitor for up-to-date information:

Help your neighbors.

Police, fire, emergency medical personnel and healthcare workers also have family that need support. Offer to share some of your groceries for the over-60 population or those who need a little extra support. This is a great time to do good and feel good about it.

I know you may be scared. If we confront this together, the fear can be diminished. Our community will be stronger because of our efforts.

I am so proud of our health care workers and everyone coming together to support them.

Thank you for your continued support of East Adams Rural Healthcare.

-- Corey Fedie is the CEO of East Adams Rural Healthcare


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