We have all seen the data indicating increased spread of COVID-19 in Johnstown and surrounding communities. For hospital workers, there is no question of the seriousness and novelty of this illness. We are providing care to individuals and, in some cases, providing higher flows of oxygen than we have ever done before in our careers. 

While most people with COVID-19 survive, sadly many others do not. As a community, we can help each other weather the pandemic by taking individual actions that support the greater good.

Everyone can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by social-distancing, wearing masks and regularly washing their hands. Everyone should also follow recommendations for quarantining if they have had contact with someone who is symptomatic or has received a positive COVID-19 test result.

Beyond this, we need to help our neighbors. Check in on individuals who have tested positive to see if they need help. 

I’ve seen families where elderly parents and their caregivers are all infected and have no way to fetch groceries and medicines. 

Offer encouragement to friends and loved ones who are working on the front lines. 

Maybe you can help a nurse who is working extra shifts to care for our community.

Hopefully a vaccine is on the horizon, but for now, we all need to pull together against the common adversary. We know our community is resilient and that individual actions will help our region emerge from the pandemic stronger.

Dr. Jeanne Spencer

chair department family medicine at DLP Conemaugh

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