As the physician and nurse leaders of hospitals and healthcare systems in New Hampshire, we have an important safety message regarding COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. We hoped the trend of decreasing cases this spring would continue, and we could get back to what we all yearned for—returning to a “new normal”. Unfortunately, we’ve watched with great concern the number of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths dramatically rising in New Hampshire. We need your help to stem this tide and avoid overwhelming our hospitals like those in other parts of the country are experiencing.

 

Get the COVID-19 vaccine. The science and data prove these vaccines are safe and effective. The vast majority of patients hospitalized in New Hampshire with severe COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Reach out to your doctor or other trusted sources to get questions answered then make an appointment to get the vaccine to protect you, your loved ones, and your communities.

 

Wear a mask.  The science and data show us that wearing a mask, regardless of vaccination status, is an effective means of preventing the spread of COVID-19. We strongly encourage our state’s political leaders to consider the adoption of a statement recommending mask use when we are in indoor, congregate settings. A recommendation from the State that is in line with CDC guidelines, even if temporary during this surge, would help dispel the confusion that business, school, and community leaders are currently experiencing.

 

Stay home if you are not feeling well and get a COVID-19 test if you are experiencing symptoms.

 

Wash your hands frequently.

 

These evidence-based, public health measures are all important tools in the fight against COVID-19. There is no one solution that can completely eliminate the risk of spreading COVID-19, but when layered together, these interventions will have a significant impact on the rate of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in New Hampshire. Each one of us must do all that we can to limit the spread.

 

We know that when we follow these prevention measures, they will reduce the rate of spread and lessen the burden on the health care system so we can ensure that every patient receive the care they need, when and where they need it. If the recent trends in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue, the clinicians and so many others who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, will suffer additional stress, potentially putting others at risk, as hospitals reach capacity and are unable to care for patients who need care.

 

The decision to continue these safety measures is driven by data and guidance from healthcare experts, not politics. Public health draws on data to chart the route from where we are now, to where we need to go. It keeps hospitals and healthcare facilities safe places for patients to receive both routine and emergency care as

needed. These measures will not only help prevent another catastrophic surge in hospital admissions and COVID-19 deaths, but they will also help to keep our schools and businesses open and our economy thriving.

 

We need your help. Keep COVID-19 under control by doing what you can to prevent more infections. Support our dedicated and courageous healthcare heroes as they continue the fight against COVID-19 while safely caring for all your health care needs. Now is our opportunity to impact the arc of this pandemic. Working together, we are confident that we can make a difference and get this dangerous virus under control.

 

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Download: New Hampshire’s Healthcare Leaders Urge Continued Adherence to Public Health Guidance to Prevent Spread of COVID-19