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Together, we will get through this

UnityPoint Health — FD is prepared and vigilant in the fight against COVID-19

-Submitted photo
UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge team members representing therapy, surgical services, acute care and environmental services, give their message to the community. Top row, from left to right: Tammy Pattison, Deanne Cummins-Thiele, Heidi Lennon, Elena Sassman, Amanda Jensen and Dawn Kirkpatrick. Bottom row, from left to right: Judy Haines, Jenna Linder, Amanda Grablin and Brittany Lantz.

In light of Webster County’s first COVID-19 case, we want to ensure our community has accurate and factual information.

We are extremely proud of the work that has been done to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic with our community partners through the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC has and continues to provide UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge an opportunity to collaborate and prepare with the following agencies:

• City of Fort Dodge

• Fort Dodge Community School District

• Fort Dodge Emergency Management

• Fort Dodge Emergency Services

• Fort Dodge Fire Department

• Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance

• Fort Dodge Police Department

• Iowa Central Community College

• Manson Northwest Webster Community Schools

• St. Edmond Catholic School

• Southeast Valley Community Schools

• Webster County Board of Supervisors

• Webster County Public Health

• Webster County Sheriff’s Department

Additionally, UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge regional Incident Command, in partnership with the UnityPoint Health system Incident Command, has been meeting for weeks to prepare for COVID-19. In consultation with our medical directors: Drs. Lincoln Wallace, Michael Willerth, Alex Cathey, Elizabeth Day, Rachel Sokol and David Jones, surge plans for inpatient beds as well as Emergency Department have been developed that will allow us to double our bed capacity. A waiver has also been submitted to the federal government to allow Trinity Regional Medical Center to exceed our 49-bed limit, in order to support the care needed for our community.

The availability of test kits and ventilator capacity have also been hot topics on social media and in the media. We would like to provide some additional information regarding these very important resources.

Test Kits: UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge has test kits available. Our clinicians remain vigilant about following CDC guidelines for testing as related to COVID-19. Like other testing, patients must meet the criteria before a test is ordered.

Ventilators: The quantity of ventilators available in our region has been an area of concern for many. Please know in preparation of COVID-19, the region has significantly increased its ventilator capacity. We will also work together with the UnityPoint Health system and our rural Critical Access Hospital partners for additional support if needed.

We have prepared to the best of our ability. As a community we were given the gift of time to create solid work plans to ensure a coordinated and efficient response to COVID-19, before Webster County experienced its first COVID-19 case.

There is a lot of information available on social media and through regular media channels — it can really feel like too much at times. Please be sure you are going to a trusted source for COVID-19 updates and sharing what is only factual. We recommend the following sites for COVID-19 information: Webster County Public Health; Iowa Department of Public Health; Centers for Disease Control; and the World Health Organization. By sharing only accurate and factual information it will help reduce anxiety and ease the minds of our family, friends and neighbors during this time of uncertainty.

Lastly, what we need now is the help of our community to ensure our healthcare resources will allow UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge to continue providing the best care possible. You can help to reduce and potentially prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following some simple recommendations:

• Stay home whenever possible

• Practice social distancing

• Avoid community gatherings — limit your activities to essentials, i.e. work, grocery store, etc.

• Wash your hands

Words cannot express our deepest gratitude to all our healthcare professionals, first responders, and service workers for their tireless commitment to our community.

Together, we will get through this.

Leah Glasgo is president and CEO of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge. Michael Willerth is chief medical officer of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge.

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