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There is a treatment for COVID-19: Stay Home

There is a treatment for COVID-19: Stay home.

That’s my message to my family, my employees, and to everyone in my community.

You each have an opportunity to save lives by refraining from pretending life is normal – it is not. If you insist on living as though nothing is wrong, you have decided to be part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

I am not an alarmist. In fact, I am nearly a hopeless optimist but not today. Today I am sounding an alarm to all of you that the enemy is at the gates, but you just can’t see them. They are their lurking in your co-workers, in your healthy looking friends, and in a host of people you come in contact with in your everyday encounters. We in the United States enjoy unprecedented constitutional freedoms. When I was 19, I raised my right hand and joined the U.S. Army. I swore to defend the country against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. My sons have likewise sacrificed their young adult lives, and instead of heading off to college or careers, they have chosen to take that same oath and serve in the military. Trust me when I say I believe in the freedom we enjoy as Americans. However, I am asking you to consider an even higher calling, and that is doing what the Apostle Paul said:

Consider others as more important than yourselves. ~ Philippians 2:3

That, my friends, takes sacrifice. Doing what you want without regard for others is dangerous and ignorant with this enemy.

Our Chief of Staff, Dr. Nicholas Stamato, is doing everything humanly possible to help our medical community organize itself in preparation of seeing this virus widespread in our community. Campbell County Public Health is doing all they can do to help our community stay healthy. Our County, City and School District officials have taken very appropriate action to encourage all of us to stay home and only go out when absolutely necessary.

All of us here at Campbell County Health and our medical staff are preparing for a fight that we hope never comes. As healthcare workers, we are on the front lines of this fight. You, however, have the power to “flatten the curve,” which means you are in the fight with us. If the community doesn’t do its part, it will make the healthcare providers’ and hospital’s fight that much more difficult. It could, in fact, become so difficult that our system is overwhelmed, and we are put in a position to make impossibly difficult decisions. We have limited human resources, limited bed capacity, limited testing capacity, and limited ventilators. If we test the limits of this capacity, it could break.

Italy is a good example where it has broken. Just as an example, they have suspended funerals and cremations because they cannot keep up with the volume of those who have died from COVID 19. Italy was slow to respond, and its citizens were slow to appreciate or even believe the scope of the problem. The last place you want to be in this fight is trying to play catch up.

You have all no doubt heard that there is currently no vaccine and no vaccine can be hoped for up to 12-18 months. In terms of a medical vaccine, that is true; however, there is a vaccine available to each of us, and it is social and physical distancing. The fact is, if you do not come into contact with an infected person, you will not be infected. At the same time, if you are infected, distancing yourself from others protects them as well. Simple to say, really hard to do. We are in fact social creatures; it’s the way God created us. We love being in close contact with others.

For a relatively short period of time, at least in the greater scheme of our lives, you must each take this vaccine and apply it. Not to do this is selfish, foolish, and possibly deadly to others. If you want to help CCH and our medical community with this fight, participate by practicing social distancing, superior hand hygiene, and calling your primary care provider if you start to feel symptoms (cough, fever, head or body aches, sore throat, runny nose).

Join us in this fight, and stay at home.

Andy Fitzgerald, CEO
Campbell County Health