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Covid 19 Community Message - Shawn Lerch CEO Sauk Prairie Healthcare

Hello, today's COVID-19 update is timely, as it includes a specific request.

As many community members have asked how the recent surge has affected Sauk Prairie Healthcare, our team, and what they can do to help, while the pandemic has taught us just how unpredictable it truly is.

Two months ago, we were seeing a steady decline in COVID-19 cases. Today is vastly different, as cases continue to rise, hospitalizations and deaths have unfortunately risen to levels not seen in over a year.

Sauk Prairie Healthcare is taking care of extremely ill patients who previously would have been transferred to a regional tertiary care center with some specialty services. This does include both patients with COVID-19 and patients with other critical healthcare needs. The sheer volume of patients who are now seeking essential care and requiring hospitalization is threatening our ability to provide the level of care and service we want to provide to you, and that you deserve. The reality is though, transferring these critically ill patients has become extremely difficult and on a case-by-case basis, as the regional health systems are strained with available beds and resources. The current surge and new demands are causing these teams to burn the candle at both ends, working numerous extra hours and additional shifts, just to ensure safe, high quality of care continues to be delivered. But it's not sustainable.

To our community members who continue to ask how they can help and be a part of the solution: Understand, I do realize how tired we all are of COVID-19. The entire team at Sauk Prairie Healthcare is also tired.

We are all, unfortunately, becoming numb to the messages of being told to get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands and avoid large indoor crowds. So today I'm not going to tell you what to do, but I'm going to ask you to consider talking with your trusted healthcare provider to learn about why these proactive and preventative measures like getting vaccinated, testing, masking while indoors are so important.

Please know how proud I am of our extraordinary team and how focused they are every single day to still provide that personalized, high-quality and safe care, even during these incredible demands caused by the surge.

We do ask though, for your assistance to ensure we can continue to provide the safest, most effective care that we all deserve. Taking the time to learn and reflect on how you can continue to support our common aims is also a powerful message of support to the healthcare heroes in our communities. They are the ones who remain at the front lines of this war, protecting and serving each of us.

I would like to leave you with this. I am still optimistic with strong reasons for hope that we, as resilient Americans, can arise and rally around our common goals of ending this pandemic. I simply ask that we all recommit to work together toward that common goal of defeating COVID-19 and ending this pandemic.

Thank you, and be well.