CFVH Covid-19 Update - 4/10/20
April 10, 2020
Last week I gave a shout out to the retail businesses that remain operational due to their classification as an essential business. Today I want us to acknowledge other groups who continue to deliver services we depend on regularly. Our state and local government offices continue to function, though like many other services, their delivery may look a bit different than we are accustomed to. Also, we need to remember that law enforcement, fire departments, and the ambulance services remain functional and active. They too have been making plans to deal with the potential of a crisis in Sanders County. Many of the individuals serving in these capacities largely do so as volunteers, so this preparation is additional work beyond what they already give. Be sure you give them a big thank you for their commitment to all of us.
We have sent 40 tests out based on criteria established by the CDC. Though the day may come when testing is so readily available that we can expand offering it to a much wider population, we still have to use that resource judiciously. The good news is we still have not diagnosed a case of Covid-19 in Sanders County. I pray that I can report the same next week and the week after that. But this is Easter weekend and the temptation to break from our social distancing, handwashing, and stay at home efforts is going to be powerful. Let’s not become complacent at this point, but instead continue practicing the tactics that are clearly making a difference.
This has been an interesting amount of work for us in healthcare. It struck me this week that although the intensity of the preparation is far greater than normal, we in fact spend a great deal of resources on a regular basis to be ready for anything that comes to us. Society expects that of healthcare services. It is why emergency rooms are staffed and outfitted to handle problems that may only present every 3 or 4 months, sometimes less. It is why surgery has numerous instruments that may only be used rarely, but when needed are essential. It helps explain why professional training is so long, allowing new practitioners to have the necessary knowledge to recognize those rare problems that need to be handled emergently. That need to be prepared for the rare event is part of what drives healthcare costs. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic is creating the same result on a much larger scale.
I have been privileged to live and work in Sanders County for nearly 26 years, the last 12 as your hospital’s CEO. I could not have hoped to find a more rewarding place to live or work. Our county residents are gracious and kind people who will go to great lengths to help one another. It is my hope that during this national emergency you know that Clark Fork Valley Hospital is working to assure you have the local healthcare you need, so there is one less thing for you to worry about.
Gregory S. Hanson, MD