Community Forum: Make Your Vacation COVID Free
This week’s author is Dr Anna Benvenuto, Chief Medical Officer at Porter Medical Center in Middlebury.
What a given day might hold for healthcare professionals on the front lines of the pandemic is uncertain. With the highest sustained COVID rates in Addison County since the start of the pandemic and increased demand for hospital care, we increasingly face the troubling reality of running out of space in hospitals and units. of intensive care across the state. This adds to an unprecedented labor shortage highlighted by burnout and pandemic fatigue.
In my own practice as an obstetrician and gynecologist, I have seen the complications of COVID during pregnancy and the toll it takes on pregnant women and their families. As lead physician for the UVM Health Network, I hear from colleagues across the state struggling to care for the sickest patients, many of whom are unvaccinated and some whose care has been delayed. We find ourselves in a precarious situation: more and more people need higher levels of care at a time when hospitals are operating at or near capacity and health care providers are stretched out on resources.
This latest wave of COVID precedes the holidays, when many of us hoped to get to large gatherings with people outside of our homes. While I have the utmost confidence in our amazing team here at Porter, I have a very sincere concern that a post-vacation raise will put additional strain on an already stressed healthcare system.
As we face the ongoing COVID pandemic and our current challenges with Porter capacity and across the region, I hope we can come together as a community, as we did at the start of the pandemic. We all have a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID and reducing additional and preventable demands on hospitals and healthcare professionals. Here’s how you can help:
Reduce your risk of contracting COVID.
Wear a mask, gather outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, maintain a distance of six feet or more, and stay home if you are sick. If you have not yet been vaccinated or received your booster, please do so. Vaccines lower your risk of contracting COVID and remain the most effective way to prevent serious illness and death.
Between the holiday season and winter, there are more accidents at this time of year. Take your time, be vigilant about safety and reduce the chances of ending up in the hospital.
Call your primary care provider if you are not feeling well.
Don’t delay getting the care you need. Whether you have symptoms of COVID or another health problem, we prefer to hear from you before your condition worsens and we are ready to provide safe care.
Connect and support our community.
At the start of the pandemic, there was a surge of support for Porter staff and others affected by COVID. More than ever, these people need your support. Contact a neighbor who might need help with groceries or housework. Donate your time, your talent or your treasure to a community organization.
Be kind to each other.
Experiencing the stress that COVID has caused with challenges in relationships, households and workplaces. Remember, we are all going through this together. A moment of caring can change the course of your day and the lives of those you touch.
I am proud and grateful to be a part of Porter Medical Center and to help ensure that we provide reliable and responsive care to our community. I remain optimistic that scientific advancements will allow faster testing and more treatment options to make life with COVID more manageable. I hope we will remain vigilant and make smart choices to protect ourselves from the spread of COVID and ease the strain on our healthcare system. Above all, I believe in the power of our collective response and commitment to each other and this community we call home.