Letter to our Community
Posted June 17, 2020
For almost three full months, we have had a singular focus at Anna Jaques Hospital: responding to COVID-19. The last time I shared a community update in early May, we were just coming off the peak of the COVID-19 impact at Anna Jaques and across the Commonwealth and were actively planning for when and how we could safely expand the breadth of health care services for our patients.
On June 9th in accordance with Governor Baker’s and the Department of Public Health’s “Phase 2” Reopening Guidelines – and, as key COVID-19 indicators continue on a downward trend (see below) – we resumed the vast majority of elective procedures and non-urgent care. Providers and staff are now excitedly getting back to the business of caring for all of our patients.
The health and safety of our patients is our top priority. We encourage patients to not delay the care they need and to call their providers or primary care physicians to schedule appointments that were either postponed or are upcoming to learn about options and answer any questions.
When you do visit the hospital, you will see many safety measures in place, from required screening upon entry and issued masks for every person who comes in the building to reconfigured waiting rooms that ensure social distancing and more. Building your confidence in our ability to safely care for our patients and protect our staff is the driving force behind the introduction of “BILH Safe Care” campaign. Through a combination of patient materials, signage throughout our facilities, social media and website content, BILH Safe Care highlights the safety measures in place at Anna Jaques and across our health system – which meet or exceed guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).
Patients are also now enjoying time with visitors on a limited basis. We know this greatly benefits our patients’ well-being and healing, as well as our providers and staff who have played an integral support role when family and friends could not. Click here to read the current Visitor Policy.
In the midst of the fight against COVID-19, the conversation has rightfully shifted to fighting another battle – one against discrimination, injustice and inequality. Anna Jaques stands in solidarity against racism and hate. Last week along with the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association and health care colleagues across the state, we participated in a collective moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless others who have lost their lives due to unacceptable acts of racism.
We will work to raise awareness of racism as a public health issue and affirm our commitment to work together each day to constructively address disparities in our community and foster an inclusive culture. Many health care providers are conflicted in our desire to support the cause wholeheartedly and yet remain concerned about public safety, as this pandemic is far from over. We ask everyone to continue to stay diligent about wearing masks and practicing social distancing when possible to keep the virus contained. If you have recently attended a large gathering in the last two weeks, we encourage you to get tested for COVID-19 at one of the 50 testing sites across Massachusetts at no cost on June 17th and 18th. Click here to learn more and find participating locations.
There is still a long road ahead and more challenges to face, but we will continue to face them together as a community. In last week’s Newburyport Daily News, there was a full-page ad from Anna Jaques with hundreds of employee and physician signatures thanking our community for standing with us (view here). The support we have and continue to receive fuels us daily.
Thank you for continuing to standing with us as we all work together to move in a positive direction.
Mark Goldstein, President
Prior Community COVID-19 Updates: