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Dear community members,

The Syringa Hospital Board of Trustees, in conjunction with Syringa Hospitals and Clinics, have an important role in advocating for and helping to protect our community members and health care workers.

Our collective doctors, nurses and employees have devoted their careers to caring for our communities and as we navigate this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, their commitment to protecting human life has never been so important, which is why we wrote this letter.

After observing the recent alarming spread of COVID-19 in northern Idaho and other parts of the world, it is clear that the continued widespread use of masks helps prevent the transmission of COVID-19. As of Nov. 13, 2020, according to the coronavirus.idaho.gov website, there were 78,279 confirmed and probable cases, 1,158 confirmed and probable new cases, and 749 deaths.

Syringa Hospital COVID-19 Test Data as of Nov. 13, 2020

Number of tests ordered over the last 14 days - 141

Number of tests – pending results - 11

Number of positive results over the last 14 days - 45

Number of total cumulative positive results to date - 161

Number of total tests ordered to date - 894

Wearing masks will slow the spread, keep businesses open, and give our schools the best possible environment for remaining open. We understand the significant hardship lockdowns have on local businesses, and the impact school closures have on our teachers, children and families. We want to avoid lockdowns.

When you ask people why they wear their mask or cloth face covering, you get a lot of different answers, and with good reason. We are all individuals living in different circumstances. The good news is that any reason is the right reason to wear a mask. Here are some reasons to consider wearing a mask:

1) To keep yourself well; 2) to keep your friends and neighbors safe; 3) it is so easy; 4) it’s a form of self expression — choosing masks that support your school, favorite team, work, hobby, pet, etc.; 5) for healthcare workers and first responders; 6) to get back to business; 7) to get back to fun; and 8) to embrace the new normal.

The “new normal” is raising awareness of the shift towards mask wearing and other prevention methods to help protect our health as a community. An excellent example of hospitals and community members working together occurred this fall, during the Syringa flu shot administration process. Syringa staff traveled to two outlying towns (White Bird and Kooskia), 14 local businesses and held three days of drive-through periods at the Soltman Center as an option. Total shots administered through these options was 264. As of Nov. 6, the Syringa Clinic reported 1054 flu shots administered, 133 at Kooskia Clinic, 14 at Elk City Clinic and 28 other.

It is advisable as a cautious consideration that every person wear a face covering in public when a physical distance of six feet from others cannot be maintained. The health care providers of North Idaho, Syringa board members and many members of the community are wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We ask everyone in our communities to join us.

Thanks for your support!

*

Laura Smith, representing members of the Syringa Hospital Board of Trustees.

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