By Nate Blackford, Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville president

Let me start this week’s column by saying thank you for taking COVID-19 seriously. The sacrifices you’re making during this time, social distancing, following guidelines for opening businesses and holding gatherings and wearing masks when appropriate, are not in vain. These actions are important, especially now.

Over the past two weeks, as places reopen, we have seen an increase in public activity. We are also seeing an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in our region. Every day we see new cases across most age groups. Although Maryville and Nodaway County have not been hit as hard, other communities in our area have been significantly impacted.

Both of the hospitals in Albany and St. Joseph have cared for a number of positive COVID-19 patients who were admitted to the hospital. In Maryville, we have not had a positive case inside our hospital. The positive cases we have seen have been either in our emergency room or clinic setting.

We continue to test patients who have symptoms. We are also testing those who have planned surgeries or procedures, and our respiratory clinic remains open. I mention this for two reasons. We continue to be a safe environment to receive care and do not want you to put off receiving care. Throughout the country, we are seeing situations where patient conditions are becoming critical due to delayed care.

Again, this is a marathon and not a sprint. We are still running and pacing ourselves as a community. We have to be ready for what may come next, so please continue doing your part.

I also want to take a moment to recognize our medical staff. Throughout this pandemic, our physicians and nurse practitioners have been taking care of patients and providing key leadership and insights into our local planning. I am thankful for their professionalism, dedication and commitment to our patients and community.

Their work has not been easy. From the very beginning, we have been navigating through uncharted territory. At first, we had very significant concerns about potentially being pushed beyond our resources. Our providers stepped in to help with surge planning and risk mitigation and have bravely put themselves in direct contact with the virus. They have put the needs of the patient first as we have learned more about the virus and its impact. They remain ready to serve and provide care to those who need them, whether COVID-19-related or not.

Please join me in thanking the members of our medical staff next time you see them. Their efforts, leadership and contributions have been paramount as we all navigate this global pandemic.