Guest Opinion

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Idaho’s healthcare workers have stood ready to serve the needs of all Idahoans.

Watching the story unfold across the world, it was impossible to know if community spread of the virus in Idaho would overrun hospitals, expose thousands of doctors and healthcare workers, and stress supplies of personal protective equipment and life-saving machines.

Idaho doctors and hospitals did what most Idahoans did – prepared for the worst but hoped for the best.

Hospitals and doctors voluntarily paused delayable procedures to preserve staff, hospital beds, and equipment and put measures in place to keep patients and healthcare workers safe.

Now, the number of COVID hospitalizations in Idaho are on the decline. While Idaho’s medical community remains on high alert and is prepared for surges, we are also creating a new normal and resuming all services.  Medically necessary and non-emergent procedures are taking place – and will occur in the safest and most sanitized settings by professionals who know how to keep you safe. Rest assured, although it might look a little different, the quality of care you and your family rely on hasn’t changed.

While many are embracing new activities and opportunities as we move into Stage 4, we know there are others who are apprehensive about what that could mean for the health of their families and themselves. We understand that concern but encourage you not to put off the care you need.

Cancer screenings will need to continue, despite coronavirus. Heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other chronic conditions did not pause along with the rest of the world. Those conditions and others must still be treated, and longer delays could lead to worse outcomes for those patients.

Worries about COVID should not stop you from seeking preventive care either. We encourage you to continue wellness visits, which are especially important for children to make sure they are meeting developmental milestones and are on schedule for critical routine vaccines.

Your healthcare teams are ready to provide these treatments and keep you and your family safe. Balancing the benefits of medical interventions against their potential risks is not a new notion for us. Precautions that banks and grocery stores have recently implemented are basics that healthcare workers have made second nature during their entire careers, not just during a pandemic. Your physicians are not just experts because they know how to do things well. They are experts because they know whether to do things, and when to do things, and, equally important, when not to do things. That expertise has always allowed them to advise patients as individuals, based on their individual needs.

Moving forward, it will be important for Idahoans to remember that, with all that has changed in our lives as a result of this disruption, one thing that will remain is the trust they can have in their healthcare providers to be there for them, with their best interest, and their best health, at heart.

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