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  • Joint Letter to Pima County Community About COVID-19

    Dec 11, 2020 | Read More News
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    Leaders of the Pima County Health Department, county hospitals, and county fire districts have written an open letter to the community asking everyone in the County to wear a mask, stay home as much as they possibly can and avoid social gathering, even over the holidays, in order to stop the substantial transmission of COVID-19 in the County. 

    Text of the Letter: 


    December 10, 2020 

    Re: Open Letter to the Residents and Visitors of Pima County 

    To the People of Pima County, 

    We, the undersigned representatives of your healthcare providers and emergency response network, and the Pima County Health Department, need everyone in Pima County to help us during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Our acute healthcare system is experiencing heavy stress and is near the breaking point. If our community does not take immediate action to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 in Pima County, the results for the healthcare delivery system could be catastrophic. 

    Our emergency departments and hospitals are full, and they are facing shortages of staff and critical supplies. Hospital workers are exhausted and there is no end in sight, presently. Without significant changes in community behavior, there will be continued growth in positive COVID cases and hospitalizations through the remainder of December. 

    We must all rally together and do what is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. We are collectively asking everyone in Pima County to do the following:
    • Stay home as much as possible. Do not participate in unnecessary gatherings. The virus spreads from person-to-person via exhaled droplets in the air. The fewer interactions you have with others, the less likely it is you will contract or spread the virus. In other words, the fewer people you are around, the less of a chance you’ll get COVID-19.
    • Wear a mask. Pima County has made mask wearing mandatory throughout the county. Take that seriously. The mask can help protect you from getting COVID, but more importantly, it can help prevent you from giving COVID to someone else if you have contracted the virus and don’t know it yet. The science is irrefutable. Masks work to help limit the spread of COVID-19, and they are even more effective for infection control if EVERYONE wears one. If you have to go out for work or for essentials, please, we’re imploring you to wear a mask. 
    • While we know that this is a time of year to come together as families, friends, and as a community, it is really important that for this holiday season we ask you to avoid altogether any social gatherings, including among non-household family. Again, stay home, even during Christmas and New Year’s. We know that’s a lot to ask this time of year, but the holidays will come again; sit this one out. Use the internet and telephones to communicate with family and friends. 
    Not everyone who gets COVID-19 gets terribly sick. But many do, and many of them are dying from it. Even though you may think you’re healthy and won’t be affected by COVID-19 if you get it, you may unintentionally give it to someone else. 

    Relief is on the horizon. The first few people in Pima County will start getting the COVID-19 vaccine this month, but it may not be until later in the year before we can start relaxing COVID protection protocols. 

    In the meantime, we are witnessing a dramatic spike of virus transmission. Please, for you, your family and your community, do your part this month to stop the spread. 

    Signed, 
    Dr. Theresa Cullen, Pima County Health Director, 
    Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County Chief Medical Officer, 
    Dr. Chad Whelan, Chief Executive Officer, Banner – University Medicine
    Sarah Frost, Chief Executive Officer, Banner – UMC Tucson and South
    Cathy Townsend, Chief Nursing Officer, Banner – University Medicine
    Dr. Gordon Carr, Chief Medical Officer, Banner – University Medicine
    Dr. Bethany Bruzzi, Chief Medical Officer, Banner – University Medicine
    Judy Rich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucson Medical Center
    Dr. Rick Anderson, Chief Medical Officer, Tucson Medical Center
    Jennifer Schomburg, Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital
    Kate Schneider, Chief Administrative Officer, Northwest Medical Center Sahuarita
    Heather Bulman, Market Chief Quality Officer, Northwest Healthcare
    Jorge Salas, Chief Nursing Officer, Northwest Medical Center
    Julie Hunt, Chief Nursing Officer, Oro Valley Hospital
    Troy Klarkowski, Chief Executive Officer, Sells Hospital
    Dr. Clinton Kuntz, Chief Executive Officer, MHC Healthcare
    Dr. Jenitza Serrano-Feliciano, Chief Medical Officer, MHC Healthcare
    Dr. Nancy Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, El Rio Health
    Dr. Doug Spegman, Chief Clinical Officer, El Rio Health
    Charles W. Ryan, III, Chief, Tucson Fire Department
    Randy Karrer, Chief, Golder Ranch Fire District
    Norman K. “Brad” Bradley, Chief, Northwest Fire and District 
    Simon Davis, Chief, Corona de Tucson Fire District 
    Thomas Knapp, Chief, Three Points Fire District
    Karl Isselhard, Chief Rural Metro Fire Department
    Jackie Evans, Regional Director, American Medical Response
    Brett Lane, Chief Picture Rocks Fire District