To Our Community,
As healthcare professionals and leaders at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH), we are writing to both sound the alarm that COVID-19 is an immediate threat to our lives and well-being, and to offer encouragement that our community’s fate rests firmly within our collective hands.
In the past two weeks, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of people seeking medical care for COVID-like symptoms and being tested. We expected to see an increase, but the velocity of the change is distressing. While it is true that we remain “comfortable” with regard to the number of patients in the hospital, this should not be reassuring. The lifecycle of the virus would indicate that severely ill conditions will follow the initial onset of symptoms by 1-2 weeks. We consider the increase in daily visits to have a high predictive value as an early indicator of what we will likely experience—increased critically ill patients. And potential deaths. It is at that point our reopening will be at risk.
But this doesn’t have to be our fate. Our Roadmap to Reopening provides the solution. It is as simple as all of us maintaining the Five Commitments of Containment, with which we are all familiar by now: 6-foot distancing, hand hygiene, face coverings, and staying home and getting tested when we don’t feel well. It isn’t hard. And yet, we have all walked through our town and observed so many people in close contact, in groups and without face coverings.
Please hear our plea! As a community we can set an example for our guests and visitors, and create a culture of caring about one another. After all, that is what social distancing and face coverings are all about. We may be protecting ourselves in the process, but the greatest value of our compliance is the demonstration of respect and caring for others. Please help us send a loud and clear message through our actions that wearing face coverings and keeping our distances are not about ourselves, but about each other — those we care about and those we don’t even know. This is about saving lives. Maintaining face coverings and at least six feet of separation, and avoiding confined, crowded spaces with poor ventilation, will slow the transmission of the virus. That will allow us to continue to reopen and restore our vital economy, jobs and our well-being.
Before you head out to dinner, or a social event, or to work, we hope you will consider what you can do to
be part of a caring community. Our actions will speak louder than our words, and together we can create a culture that is apparent to all who witness it, and inspire other communities as Aspen has always done. Most importantly, we will signal to each person we are with or who we encounter, that we respect them, and we care about their health.
AVH will continue to be there for all who need us. And we will provide extraordinary healthcare in an environment of excellence, compassion and trust. You can count on us. Can we count on you to do your part for one another, for your community, and for our future?
CEO, Aspen Valley Hospital
Dr. Catherine Bernard
Chief of Staff, Aspen Valley Hospital