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Help out healthcare workers

We’re all living through a time of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty.

It has not been easy and throughout it all, I’ve been moved by the compassion, determination, and adaptability demonstrated by our community members, especially our healthcare workers.

Under the continued stress and pressure, healthcare workers continue to show resiliency and are working tirelessly to ensure quality care is accessible in our communities.

As our communities start to relax COVID-19 containment measures and we start to participate in activities we’ve put on hold, we’re seeing a resurgence of other viruses, illnesses, and preventable health issues that if trending, do not bode well for the months ahead.

As healthcare workers we are doing all we can, and we will never turn away someone in need.

We know that our community members are feeling frustrated at times due to wait times and challenges with accessing services. We are aware of your frustrations.

UPMC is committed to doing everything we can to support the communities we serve and there are some ways that you can help.

Focus on your health and wellness. Healthy communities start when we make healthy lifestyle choices, including prioritizing things like primary care provider (PCP) visits and regular screenings.

Many individuals delayed care and screenings during the earlier stages of the pandemic and unfortunately are now facing complications related to not managing those chronic conditions.

Many of these issues could have been caught, treated sooner and these patients could have avoided a trip to the ED.

Health care facilities are safe, so please do not delay your care.

Understand your care options and seek the right care at the right time.

At UPMC, we are prepared to care for our sickest community members and our EDs are designed to treat the most severe medical emergencies.

EDs use a triage system that prioritizes care based on the severity of your illness, so if you’re not experiencing a life-threatening emergency you may have to wait for care.

An easy way to avoid a wait, is to call your PCP.

Your PCP’s office can easily schedule an in-person or virtual visit as well as refer you to a specialist or testing.

In cases where your PCP is not available and it’s not an emergency, you can also take advantage of urgent care facilities and virtual appointments through UPMC’s Anywhere Care or UPMC Children’s Anywhere Care (for anyone up to 17 years old).

Vaccinations are safe and prevent severe illness. We have viable vaccinations to help prevent the spread of viruses in our region.

The COVID-19 vaccination has been proven safe and effective.

We’re also now entering the flu season and vaccinating as many people against flu as possible is crucial.

Thank a healthcare worker.

We’ve been through so much physically and emotionally, and healthcare workers remain committed to providing the highest quality care in our communities.

Thank you so much for all that you do.

You know this is often a thankless job, but you deserve to be recognized.

We’re all in this together and as a united community, we will get through this.

Michael Gerst, D.O., is chief medical officer, emergency medicine, UPMC in Northcentral Pa.

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