The surge of COVID-19 patients that we’ve all heard would be coming to New Hampshire when the weather turned cooler and people were forced back indoors where social distancing would be much more difficult has arrived. With seemingly daily new record cases of COVID-19 and a staggering 100% increase in hospitalizations over the past several weeks, there should be no doubt that we are going to be in for a very long and difficult winter for many as we wait for a vaccine to be widely available in the late spring or summer of 2021.
Doctors, nurses and hospitals have been on the front lines of this pandemic and they will continue to be. They’ve worked tirelessly over the past several months to prepare for the coming surge of COVID-19 patients and are much better prepared and equipped today to respond to the pandemic.
But they need your help. They are tired, stressed and worried about the health of their patients. If we are going to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Hampshire so that it doesn’t overwhelm our health care system, it will take every Granite State resident to play their part in protecting their own health, as well as protecting the health of the caregivers who are providing care to extremely vulnerable patients.
These women and men are often described as heroes in their efforts to support patient care in the face of dangerous diseases like COVID-19 and we couldn’t agree more. And while they appreciate the respect and admiration their patients hold for them, their plea to their patients and communities is very simple: please do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When you do that, you not only protect yourself and others around you, but you’re also helping to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed and you help keep our schools and businesses open, and our economy thriving.
Public health officials are driven by the science behind their recommendations--science that has proven that these simple measures work in reducing the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask;
- Maintain physical distance;
- Wash your hands frequently;
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;
- Stay home when you’re sick; and
- Limit your holiday travel and gatherings to your immediate household.
The Governor’s most recent Executive Order requiring Granite State residents to wear a mask when they are unable to maintain social distance is very important and a signal of just how serious this situation is as we seek to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed.
We are not powerless in the battle against COVID-19. We can make a difference by following these simple, commonsense measures. We can get through this together. But we have to act now. New Hampshire is counting on you to do your part.
Steve Ahnen Jim Potter, CAE Pamela DiNapoli, PhD, RN, CNL
President Executive Vice President Executive Director
NH Hospital Association NH Medical Society NH Nurses Association