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We must remain vigilant to reverse COVID spike

As Thanksgiving approaches and we reflect on 2020, I am humbled and deeply thankful for the sacrifices being made by the heroic doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who continue to battle on the frontlines of this pandemic. While we have made significant progress in our fight against COVID-19, successfully defeating this virus depends on our collective ability to work together and remain vigilant.

Unfortunately, we once again find our country in the midst of a spike in COVID-related hospitalizations, and recent reports show Louisiana’s COVID cases are increasing. However, we still have a real and actionable opportunity to reverse this trend. It is imperative that we continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and protect our high-risk and elderly loved ones to reduce the number of individuals requiring hospital care so that our healthcare workforce is not stretched too thin. While we can create additional beds and repurpose hospital floors, it becomes extremely difficult to find and train the caregivers needed to properly treat patients when there is an unmitigated spread of the virus in our communities.

As we continue to face significant challenges and struggle with COVID fatigue, recent medical breakthroughs, such as the development of two highly-effective vaccines, innovative antibody therapies, and the first, at-home rapid coronavirus test, are just a few of the reasons why we should remain optimistic that we will overcome this virus.

As progress continues, I encourage you to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doing your part to reduce the spread of the virus is, by far, the best way to thank our healthcare heroes, protect our friends and neighbors, and ensure that Louisiana’s economy can rebound from this pandemic.

 

Paul Salles is president and CEO of the Louisiana Hospital Association. He can be reached at psalles@lhaonline.org.