By now everyone should be aware of the extremely serious nature of the coronavirus and how it is spreading exponentially in the U.S., Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula and Homer. At this time there are more than 1,900 just on the peninsula and this is likely an underestimate. Hospitals all over the state are filling up or full already. The virus is established in our community, and if not controlled, the medical and hospital resources of our community will be exceeded. Already the Anchorage Intensive Care Units are filled and transfers of very sick patients are becoming impossible.
People should know that this virus is spread by those who are unaware they are infected which makes it so much more dangerous. It’s being spread when we are in groups and gatherings, and is in the indoor air we share when we are in enclosed spaces with others.
Until a vaccine is available and widely distributed, the only effective means of controlling the spread of the virus is by wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing. For this reason the medical staff of South Peninsula Hospital is asking everyone to wear a mask (and wear it properly) when interacting with folks outside of your household.
In addition we are asking all the commercial establishments in Homer to institute a mask mandate for both customers and employees of the store and, if possible, provide hand sanitizer at the door. Several businesses in Homer have been operating this way for many months and we thank them for doing their part. We ask the rest to please take this pandemic seriously and ask your staff and patrons (our fellow citizens) to mask up.
Again we are asking for this in order to protect our citizens from the virus. We are asking this to assure that we, the medical staff, as well as the nurses and other staff of South Peninsula Hospital, are there when you need us and that we have the resources to continue to provide health care to our community.
In normal times during surgeries and procedures, we wear masks to avoid infecting our patients with the usual pathogens we carry. Now that any one of our fellow citizens may be carrying a dangerous virus, is it asking too much for the same lifesaving courtesy?
We encourage everyone to continue to seek routine, urgent and emergent medical care during this time. It is vitally important that community members continue to maintain their health during this pandemic. We will provide you with comfortable and alternate methods to provide care in the safest manner possible.
Please do not delay seeking medical care out of concerns over exposure to COVID-19.
We will be here and available to care for the community at all times if you help protect us.
The members of the South Peninsula Hospital Medical Executive Committee and signers of this Point of View are Doctors Christopher Landess, Chief of Staff, and Christina Tuomi, Brett Adcox, Jeffrey Larsen, William Bell and Julie McCarron.