SV Hospital CEO on Covid: ‘not out of the woods yet’

Posted on November 5, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun
I would first like to thank our community for your support of Measure F. The funding the parcel tax provides the hospital is critical to our ability to continue serving Valley residents. We are grateful for your extending the parcel tax and want to add a special thank you to those who volunteered to be part of the campaign team that communicated to our community about the importance of this measure.
I also want to update you on the Covid situation here in Sonoma Valley. While the current Covid infection rate is below the peak we experienced in the Fall of 2020, we’re not yet out of the woods. Recent Covid hospitalization rates continue to fluctuate and not a week goes by where we don’t see Covid patients in the ER. Fortunately, the volume remains low, as do Covid admissions which are now mostly unvaccinated individuals. Unfortunately we don’t win all those battles and we continue to loose Sonomans to Covid.
We are doing all of the right things to protect against the virus here in Sonoma, for which we can be grateful this holiday season, and that is because of YOU.  I recently had an experience that drove home this point for me. I stopped by to visit with the CEO of a hospital in another state and their situation was very different from ours. They were struggling to keep up with a high volume of patients, both Covid and non-Covid.
Because of the many Covid patients, non-Covid patients were being admitted to hallway beds with only a simple sheet hanging around them for privacy. The hospital’s ER had a large room outfitted to house the influx of infected patients. Despite the hospital’s best efforts, patients continued to worsen and die. It was heartbreaking.
That experience made me realize we have good reason to take pride in Sonoma. As annoying and inconvenient as the mandates have been, you stepped up to do what was required to keep our valley safe. Because of your efforts, we can now shop and dine outside of our homes, we don’t have hours-long waits here at the emergency room, and our police and fire personnel are healthy and available to respond when needed.
Our community is in a better place today because you accepted the dramatic changes required of each of us during the past two years. Because you asked questions to better understand what is happening and how best to respond. And because you helped one another through volunteering, kindness, or simply wearing a mask.  Thank you.
Path Forward
One important thing we can do now is act to eliminate the last safe haven for Covid, our children. While less impacted, children do get and spread Covid. Vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 are becoming available and vaccinating them will further strengthen efforts to minimize Covid transmission. Additionally, if you haven’t received the vaccine or a booster, and you are able, I urge you to do so. Keep wearing your mask and looking after one another.
This continues to be a challenging period, but I can see a path forward to a time when we can leave these restrictions behind. If we continue to do what is needed, I’m confident we will get there soon.
— John Hennelly, President and CEO, Sonoma Valley Hospital

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