Dear fellow community members,

Our health care community is watching with growing concern as COVID-19 cases quickly increase, fueled by broad community spread. This high level of transmission means that our health care workers are also contracting COVID-19 as they go about their daily lives. Reducing and preventing community spread is critical to keeping our health care workers well and able to care for our patients and residents.

Despite all that we are doing, we anticipate that our pandemic cases will continue to increase as cold weather is upon us and more activities take place indoors. With the holiday season approaching, we are asking everyone to be even more diligent with social distancing, wearing face masks and practicing good hand hygiene. We know everyone misses family and friends, is experiencing fatigue and longs for a return to normal. Our hearts ache for the patients or residents struggling, distressed families and health care staff working around the clock. Please do not let your guard down. We need your help now more than ever.

We understand that we are asking everyone to make sacrifices, but these are not normal times. These actions are necessary to help us slow community transmission of this virus. COVID-19 is taking a toll on our communities, citizens, businesses, schools and families. We have now reached a critical moment when everyone – not just health care workers – must come together to help one another. The next several months will be critical. Although there has been positive news about vaccine development, we don’t know when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use.

We would like to thank our incredible health care workers who are doing heroic things every day to provide care under exceptional circumstances. However, they cannot do it alone. Please help us by making choices that will slow the spread of the virus including staying home, limiting your social contacts, wearing a mask, getting tested if you have symptoms or believe you have been exposed.

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We are all in this together. Please continue to take care of yourselves, support one another, and mask up to safeguard your family, friends and community.