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A Letter to our Community

Friday, January 7, 2022

Dear Community,

We need your help and understanding. Mary Rutan Health has been your trusted healthcare provider for more than 100 years. We are here for you and are proud to serve our community. However, our individual and regional resources are being overwhelmed by the global pandemic .

COVID-19 is widespread in our community. All hospitals in our region are operating at excessively high capacity and have been for months. As of January 6, 2022, our region's total COVID-19 patient census was at its highest point during the pandemic. We are also seeing more patients with other serious health issues that cannot be further delayed or ignored.

While we understand how desperately we all want life to return to normal, nothing about what we are experiencing in healthcare is normal. Our focus is supporting our community with the healthcare resources they need. To help us achieve that result, we feel it is important to share how COVID-19 is impacting healthcare at Mary Rutan Health and in our region.

HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU:

  • Emergency department care. Wait times for non-life-threatening care are longer than usual. Hospitals in our region are faced with limited and sometimes no on-site inpatient beds or transfer options for patients and are forced to provide extended care for patients in emergency departments.
  • Intensive care, transfers and nursing home bed shortages. Our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has been at full capacity for months. Because the number of COVID-positive patients is rapidly rising and healthcare organizations continue to face staffing shortages, finding an available ICU bed elsewhere does not come easily or sometimes at all. These shortages also impact available nursing home beds across the region. In addition, even when a bed is available, ambulance transfers may be delayed.
  • The need for more healthcare providers. Similar to other industries in our region, state, and country, we are also experiencing staffing challenges. Our team members continue to work tirelessly, many canceling vacations and working extra shifts to manage the increased needs of our community. We are incredibly grateful for our dedicated staff but we know this pandemic has taken a toll on each of them, as we can see it every day in their faces.
  • Elective procedures. For months, elective procedures requiring an overnight stay have been subject to cancellation based on bed availability. As of January 6, 2022, Central Ohio hospitals have agreed to postpone non-essential surgical procedures requiring an overnight stay through January 21, 2022.

HOW CAN YOU HELP:

  • Get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and FDA-approved, and vaccines help prevent hospitalization, death and the continued spread of illness. The majority of patients currently hospitalized from COVID-19 nationwide are unvaccinated. On average, ninety percent of COVID-19 positive inpatients at Mary Rutan Hospital have not been vaccinated.
  • If you choose not to be vaccinated, mask while around others and social distance. Properly worn face-coverings are a form of source control. Because those with no symptoms can spread COVID-19, wearing a face-covering prevents further transmission. Also, avoid large crowds when possible.
  • If you're sick, stay home. Mild COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to other illnesses. Stay home when you are ill or have received a positive COVID-19 test result.
  • Choose the appropriate level of care. Emergency departments are for emergencies, and we must keep beds available for patients in need of emergency medical attention. Please consider contacting your primary care provider or visiting our Urgent Care if the care needed is not an emergency.
  • Be kind. We know this has been a trying time and while we cannot control the length of the pandemic, we can control how we treat one another. Our staff members deserve kindness as we stand together to care for the community we love.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate through these challenges. Our mission is to be here for you and your family when you need us. As dedicated healthcare workers, we will continue to do everything in our power to care for our community. However, healthcare in our region is overwhelmed and we need your help and understanding to persevere.