Reflecting on the past year, I am sure we can all agree that 2020 looked nothing like we expected.
We have all been forced to make sacrifices and experienced some sense of loss as we come to terms
with this new reality. For some, this may have meant cancelled trips or celebrations missed. Others have
lost their jobs and primary source of income. And sadly, some of us have experienced the ultimate loss
and are mourning the death of loved ones.
Over the last several weeks our hospitals have experienced record numbers of COVID-19 cases and related
emergency department visits, hospitalizations, ICU admits, and deaths. Our staffing, supplies, and facility
space have all been stretched thin as we work diligently to care for all patients who come through our doors.
While we have received very encouraging news of a COVID-19 vaccine which is found to be more than
90% effective, we also know that supplies will be limited at fir st and widespread vaccination is likely not
going to happen until mid-2021.
We are in this for the long haul. I encourage us all to continue to stay strong. If we can come together
and look out for our own health and safety, and the health and safety of those around us, we are going
to get through this with fewer people getting sick and fewer people dying.
I encourage you to continue to do the responsible thing. Continue to do the loving thing.
Remain diligent about washing your hands. Avoid touching your face. Wear a mask
and practice social distancing whenever possible.
Thank you for your continued trust and support in our local health care
heroes. You can be assured that we remain ready to care for you.
We have learned so much over the last nine months on how to prevent
the spread of COVID-19. We have expanded virtual care to increase
access and offer more services. For care that can only be provided
in person, we are committed to help keep you safe and have
necessary protocols in place at all of our facilities.
Our primary care offices, walk-in-clinics, and emergency departments
remain open to care for you. If you have a health need right now,
then it deserves our attention right now. Whether you want to see
us virtually or in person, don’t delay your care.
We are stronger together and together we can slow the
spread of COVID-19, save lives, and continue to serve our
community, friends, and neighbors.
Loren B. Hamel, MD
Chief Strategy Officer, Spectrum Health
President, Spectrum Health Lakeland