Information regarding COVID-19 vaccine at St. Clair can be found HERE.

Region’s top doctors make plea to community

The chief medical officers of the region’s big hospitals and health systems and the head of the Allegheny County Health Department on Tuesday afternoon released a letter to the community and businesses urging southwestern Pennsylvania to come together to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect the economy.

The letter was signed by the chief medical officers of UPMC, Allegheny Health Network, St. Clair Hospital as well as Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen. It comes as Allegheny County struggles with more than 125 new cases daily since late June, including 206 reported Tuesday along with six deaths and seven hospitalizations.

“This public health crisis is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes, and it is only through a collective focus and response by health care leaders, our business community and everyone who calls western Pennsylvania home that we can manage this pandemic in a manner that minimizes its serious associated health risks while also protecting the short- and long-term economic well-being of our region,” the letter said.

It was a show of solidarity between the health care systems during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to regular meetings of the systems’ chief medical officers and chief nursing officers as well as other collaboration. Each of the hospitals and health systems have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and each have had patients.

“We remain ready to provide care for patients — but we also need you to take some important steps to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our community,” the letter read. “We believe it’s imperative to not lose our focus on the basic steps that allow each of us to help all of us — protecting ourselves, our friends and our family members, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”

Those include:

  • Wearing protective masks, and correctly
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Practicing physical distancing everywhere
  • Staying home and calling a doctor if you get symptoms of Covid-19
  • Staying home if you think you have been exposed to Covid-19 and calling a doctor for advice

The letter ends with a version of Bogen’s continual advice to be kind, prescribed throughout the pandemic.

“A little more thoughtfulness, understanding and tolerance for the inconveniences we are experiencing may be the best medicine of all,” the letter said.

Here is the letter in full:

A letter from local health care leaders:

Over the past three months, our organizations have proudly come together in an unprecedented fashion to address the enormous challenges we have faced as a community due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This public health crisis is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes, and it is only through a collective focus and response by health care leaders, our business community, and everyone who calls western Pennsylvania home that we can manage this pandemic in a manner that minimizes its serious associated health risks while also protecting the short- and long-term economic well-being of our region.

Despite success, the virus remains a threat. In recent days, the number of COVID-19-infected patients has risen locally and across the country. We remain ready to provide care for patients — but we also need you to take some important steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

We believe it imperative to not lose our focus on the basic steps that allow each of us to help all of us — protecting ourselves, our friends, and our family members, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The latter includes the elderly, but also people with other compromising medical conditions — and it isn’t always easy to know who those individuals are at a glance. So we all must do the simple things that matter the most in helping to prevent illness and death during this pandemic — for the young, our seniors, and everyone.
As health care leaders, we ask the people of this region to:

  • Wear protective masks whenever you’re around others and wear them correctly (cover your nose and mouth) … do it for yourself, and do it for others.
  • Wash your hands and clean high-touch surfaces often … make it a habit.
  • Practice physical distancing everywhere, staying 6 feet apart.
  • If you have symptoms that you think could be COVID-19 or a respiratory illness, stay home and call your doctor.
  • If you feel you may have been exposed to COVID-19, but have no symptoms, stay at home and call your doctor. That allows the best planning for possible testing and care.
  • Finally, be kind to each other. A little more thoughtfulness, understanding, and tolerance for the inconveniences we are experiencing may be the best medicine of all.

Thank you. Be safe and well.

Donald Whiting, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Allegheny Health Network

Donald M. Yealy, MD
Senior Medical Director
UPMC

Carol Fox, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Excela Health System

John Six, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Washington Health System

David Rottinghaus, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Butler Health System

John Sullivan, MD
Chief Medical Officer
St. Clair Hospital

Michael Cratty, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Heritage Valley Health System

Debra Bogen, MD
Director
Allegheny County Health Department

Ali Sonel, MD
Chief of Staff
VA Pittsburgh Health Care

By Paul J. Gough  – Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

Link:  https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2020/07/07/regions-top-doctors-make-plea-to-community.html