As COVID-19 numbers spike all around the country, the Panhandle has been hit particularly hard with the number cases requiring hospitalization threatening to exhaust the region’s available hospital beds.
That’s led the top officials at several of those hospitals – including Box Butte General in Alliance, Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, and Chadron Community Hospital – to write open letters to the residents they serve warning that the rising numbers are putting the health of patients and care providers at risk.
Nathan Hough took over as CEO of Chadron Community just as the pandemic was starting to ramp up in April. In his letter, he says Midwesteners are “strong independent people…used to relying and providing for ourselves.”
Hough writes that while residents are willing to “do anything for our neighbors” and pulling together as a community in difficult times, “we don’t like to be told what to do” – an attitude that has brought resistance to measures intended to slow the spread of the pandemic.
He warns that unless the community works together in acting very soon, the virus can put everyone in it at risk. Fortunately, the actions that can help are simple – wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain 6-feet of social distance and avoid the 3 Cs – crowded places, close contacts and confined spaces.
Hough writes the preventative measures are important and can significantly curb the spread and protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your neighbors – adding that’s it’s even more important to do so now with the holidays fast approaching.
We Midwesterners are strong independent people. We are used to relying and providing for ourselves and would do anything for our neighbors. In difficult times, we are known for pulling together as a community, we can handle any situation and don’t like to be told what to do.
These traits are a legacy we are proud of, but something has come along that is out of our control. As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in our community, we have growing concerns as to what the future may bring unless our community works together in acting very soon. The impacts of this pandemic can put both our families, patients and our healthcare workers at risk.
Chadron Community Hospital and Health Services is here to take care of our communities. Our hospital staff is currently working very hard with the COVID-19 surge that is upon us and everyone at our facility is greatly concerned for the well-being of the local population.
We have a loyal and dedicated team of men and women working here and as can be imagined, are being strong both mentally and physically in providing the care needed. Working in full personal protective equipment is not easy and can be extremely draining for our health care workers; however, it is necessary to protect their own health so that they can continue to care for our patients.
We, as with all hospitals across the state, have limited supplies and a limited amount of space. If the virus numbers don’t slow down, we’ll be faced with extremely difficult decisions. This makes me very concerned as to availability of resources to serve patients, whether they have contracted COVID-19 or not.
So, what can be done to improve this situation? It’s actually very simple. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain six feet of social distance and avoid the 3 Cs (crowded places, close contacts and confined spaces).
These preventative measures are important and can significantly curb the spread. Remember we would do anything for our neighbors and when difficult times happen, we are known for pulling together as a community.
Now is the time to do your part to protect yourself and your neighbors. With the holidays fast approaching, it’s even more important to do your part. By taking preventative actions now, we can protect our family and friends from this potentially deadly virus.
I implore you as residents of your community to work together and help us control COVID-19 in our communities.
Sincerely, Nathan Hough
CEO Chadron Community Hospital and Health Services