Letter from the CEO of Cook County Health System
Monday, April 20, 2020
Special to suffredin.org
by Debra D. Carey
Dear Cook County Health Friends and Partners,
As the county settles into a new normal of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we at Cook County Health are increasing our efforts to reach out to the most vulnerable patients to provide a variety of resources.
·Our ambulatory clinics are reaching out to patients particularly at risk of COVID-19 infection due to certain health conditions. Through data that comes from emergency departments around the area, we have been able to pull a list of more than 2,000 patients who are at risk. Our team is reaching out to them to ensure they have the resources they need and, if required, offering virtual appointments for them. We are texting our patients educating them about symptoms of coronavirus and providing them with guidance and resources if needed.
·We continue to hold our FRESH trucks at our clinics, providing fruits and vegetables to patients who are food insecure and those in the community who are in need. Upcoming dates can be found here. Our staff and the volunteers from the Greater Chicago Food Depository are working to ensure everyone who comes to the sites maintain social distancing measures and is healthy.
·We are communicating with our patients about the resources available to help them, including a mental health hotline and information about SNAP and unemployment. We have created multiple print brochures and fliers that are being distributed by community partners. More information is provided throughout this newsletter.
The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has been working around the clock with public health and emergency management counterparts at all levels of government to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic since the first COVID-19 case was identified on Jan. 24 in Cook County. This has included case investigations, contact tracing and monitoring; disease surveillance and control; and providing situational updates and guidance to the public, media and partners.
Finally, I am pleased to report that the Provident Hospital Emergency Room will reopen on Monday, April 20, at 7 a.m. following efforts designed to improve the safety of patients and staff and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
This is an unprecedented time in the history of our country and this organization. I want to thank our health care workers for coming to work every day to care for our patients and support their coworkers. And on behalf of CCH and all the first responders, I urge everyone to follow the stay-at-home order, wash your hands frequently and to practice social distancing at all times. These acts will help flatten the curve and keep our healthcare workers safe and healthy to do life-saving work in this moment and well into the future.
If we all do our part, we will get through this moment together. A moment has the potential to define healthcare for the next several generations. A moment can inspire the high school sophomore to consider a career as a nurse, respiratory therapist or doctor or the college freshman to become a police, fireman or other first responder. This moment will most certainly lead to lessons learned, medical advancements and treatments for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. We must stay the course or risk losing this important moment in our history.
I am honored to be leading an extraordinary group of individuals and I am incredibly proud of the work being done throughout our system to ensure all Cook County residents have access to care regardless of income, immigration or insurance status.