The emergence of the novel coronavirus early this year presented the world with an unprecedented challenge. Not since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 have we faced such a daunting public health crisis. By late February, it was clear our healthcare system, government and every American citizen would need to work together to conquer this invisible enemy.
Throughout this pandemic, we have found inspiration in witnessing the incredible and selfless work of caregivers at the front lines of our health system and across the country. The doctors, nurses, facility management teams and other support teams in our hospitals and clinics are giving everything they have to meet the needs of our Central Texas communities. These heroes are the embodiment of our mission to serve.
As we are in the midst of the seventh month of this public health crisis, I continue to take comfort in seeing the compassion and commitment of everyday citizens to protect our Central Texas communities, families and neighbors and help our healthcare heroes stop this virus.
It is important to understand that COVID-19 is easily spread and can have devastating effects. Therefore, our communities should come together to use every mitigation tool at our disposal to halt its spread. Looking after each other, being neighborly, is what American values are all about. While we continue to learn about COVID-19, we know everyone in our community plays a crucial role in helping us all stay healthy and safe. Only through the cooperation of everyone can we continue to curb the high number of cases. We know prevention is key. Please continue to do your part by practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks while in public.
We appreciate the efforts of local businesses, institutions and schools that have developed and are implementing mitigation strategies, including mask guidelines and social distancing for their employees, customers and community members. We’ve seen many organized efforts come together over the past several months to ensure front-line workers and our most vulnerable community members have access to masks and other protective equipment.
Equally important is seeking the care you need if you become sick or develop an emergency. We've made many changes to our hospitals, office practices and emergency departments to keep you safe and protect you from the COVID-19 virus. Too often we've seen patients suffer at home with a medical emergency out of fear of coming to the hospital or other healthcare setting. Please don't delay the care you need to preserve your health. Much of the care we provide to our patients has been unrelated to COVID-19, and it is imperative that our patients continue to obtain timely and medically necessary care during this pandemic. Timely treatment is critically important for achieving the best outcomes and lessening the risk of complications. Our hospital and clinics are clean, safe and ready to care for you.
As we approach the cold and flu season, we are working ahead now to prepare for a potential influx of healthcare needs at our local hospital and clinics. This year, more than ever, I encourage you to get the seasonal flu vaccine early, to protect you and your family and prevent unnecessary doctor’s visits.
Finally, from all of our dedicated workers at Ascension Seton Smithville and Ascension Seton Bastrop, I want to thank the Bastrop County community for rallying behind doctors, nurses and support staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your acknowledgement and support throughout these unprecedented times.