April 2, 2002
Last evening, we were informed of our first positive case of COVID-19 in the tri-town region. The patient is recovering at home and is in isolation.
This is not unexpected news. We have been preparing for weeks and expected that in time, the outbreak would reach us. In accordance with our COVID-19 preparedness plan, we have rapidly adjusted our current operations. The following changes have been implemented as of this morning:
Elective surgeries have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. To be clear, only surgery that can be safely postponed will be re-scheduled. Surgery that should not be postponed in the judgment of our surgeons will be performed as scheduled.
Likewise, testing and exams that can be safely postponed will be re-scheduled. This includes imaging exams and other currently scheduled appointments. Judgment on what can be postponed will be the decision of the ordering physician/provider and the patient. In an abundance of caution, we will significantly curtail contact with patients, but we will not turn our back on those in acute need.
Physician practices will follow suit. Any appointment that can be safely postponed and re-scheduled shall be. Of course, patients who are symptomatic for any reason (not just COVID) will be seen. Again, physicians and providers will work directly with patients to determine when appointments can be postponed and when the patient should be seen expeditiously.
Lastly, we will be working to reduce the number of staff present in the hospital at any given time to reduce the risk of infection. We must maintain a healthy workforce to care for patients for the duration of the outbreak.
Please do not underestimate the importance of staying at home, isolating and practicing absolute social distancing. It can take up to 14 days after exposure for symptoms to present, and the spread often takes place during the time when showing no symptoms at all. This virus is now officially in our community, and it’s up to us how greatly we let it impact us. We all must do our part.
If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath), isolate yourself to avoid spreading the virus to others. You should be evaluated and can do so from the comfort of your home. Our COVID-19 hotline (207) 447-4190 is currently available Monday through Friday, 8AM-5PM. An MRH provider will evaluate your symptoms and determine an appropriate treatment pathway over the phone.
We know this is very different from how you’re used to seeking care. Please understand that this is the most efficient and effective way for us to sort patient needs quickly and get those patients the information and care they need; in a way that is most safe for all.
Prior to last night, this outbreak was somewhere else; someone else’s misfortune. Today, it is our new reality. Keeping this spread as minimal as possible takes a village.
Stay well. Stay safe. We’ll be here to care for you, just as we always are.
Bob Peterson, MBA, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer