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Wear a mask to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, Lexington facility leaders urge

Open letter issued by heads of Baptist Health Lexington, UK HealthCare, CHI Saint Joseph Health

LEXINGTON, Ky. — An open letter to our community from William G. Sisson, Bruce Tassin and Mark Newman, M.D.:

The number of COVID-19 cases in our community is rapidly rising, and our hospital beds are filling with those too ill to quarantine at home and care for themselves. It is critically important that we take action now.

We want to continue to provide the excellent care that you’ve come to expect from Baptist Health Lexington, UK HealthCare and CHI Saint Joseph Health — to you and to your loved ones — when you need it most. We are prepared to handle a surge of patients, but there is a limit. There will be a point when our hospitals will be too full to treat all of you with the virus and those with other medical needs. We are not there yet, but we don’t want to come to that crossroads.

For the last eight months, our healthcare professionals have stood united in the fight against COVID-19. We have rejoiced with those who recovered, and mourned with those who suffered a loss. Now, as COVID-19 cases reach record levels, we ask that you stand with us.

Please, for the health and safety of yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors, wear a mask. Avoid gatherings — not just with strangers, but with extended family members. Don’t stand or be near people who don’t live with you. Wash your hands often. With the holiday season here, please celebrate responsibly in a scaled-back fashion that limits the virus’s spread.

No single health measure is 100 percent effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19. They must be used together. That’s why we ask you to take every precaution possible to limit the spread in our community and save lives.

A little bit of sacrifice and support from you can make a big difference for many. We are going to get past this. And we will get past it by working together.