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‘We need to remain vigilant’

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. David Lopatofsky, chief medical officer, UPMC in the Susquehanna Region, agrees with and regionally UPMC supports the following statement authored by his colleagues on the Western PA Regional Chief Medical Officer Consortium. “COVID-19 is real, it is still here, and it hurts many,” said Dr. Lopatofsky. “Statewide, we need to remain vigilant and continue practicing preventative actions to limit the spread and harm caused by this illness. Together, we can make a real difference.”)

To All in Our Communities

On behalf of the health care systems and providers in Western PA, we want to reinforce a few important messages regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the President’s illness, care, and statements, many may wonder if things are changing from the medical perspective.

We see the virus effects and the harms of underestimating it. We also know the benefits of practical ongoing preventative actions.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still here in our area and country; it will not be leaving any time soon.

Our collective ongoing vigilance to smart action remains the key to limiting illness spread and harm. We remind all to:

• Wear a mask every day and whenever you are near another. It protects you, others, all.

• Keep distance. Seek to be 6 feet or more apart and avoid crowds. This is especially true when you are indoors.

• Wash your hands, often. This helps stop infection spread.

• Stay home when you are ill, even if you think it is “just a cold or an allergy.” COVID-19 looks like many other infections but spreads and harms some.

• Talk with your doctor or care provider if you are ill or concerned and follow the advice. Isolate, quarantine, and mask as recommended. It helps.

COVID-19 is real and it hurts many, especially the elderly and others with underlying conditions or other risks. Together, we can make a real difference by sharpening and retaining our focus on these simple steps.

It is not time to stop these steps.

The Western PA Regional Chief Medical Officer Consortium

Donald M. Whiting, MD, chief medical officer, Allegheny Health Network; Donald M. Yealy, MD, senior medical director, UPMC; Carol L. Fox, MD, chief medical officer, Excela Health System

David Rottinghaus, MD, chief medical officer, Butler Health System; Michael Cratty, MD, chief medical officer, Heritage Valley Health System

John Sullivan, MD, chief medical officer, St. Clair Hospital; John Six, MD, chief medical officer, Washington Health System; Ali F. Sonel, MD, chief medical officer, Pittsburgh VA Health System

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