News Release 

Essential hospitals urge vigilance as flu season looms and COVID-19 remains a threat

A dozen hospitals across the country call on communities to adhere to recommendations for handwashing, mask wearing, and other protective measures

The Reis Group

Science Business Announcement

PHOENIX (October 26, 2020) - Valleywise Health of Phoenix, America's Essential Hospitals, and a dozen essential hospitals - those with a safety-net mission - joined together in an urgent call for all Americans to remain vigilant and continue preventive actions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

As the nation faces a new surge of COVID-19 with cases on the rise in nearly every state, hospital leaders are imploring the public to double down on safety measures to help keep at-risk people and health care workers safe.

"Health care workers on the front lines at essential hospitals around the country are tirelessly serving patients and communities most at risk," said Steve Purves, president and CEO of Valleywise Health, Arizona's public teaching health system and safety-net system of care. "As we move into the fall and winter months, and we continue to see an increase in COVID-19 infections, we must all do our part to slow the spread and protect our devoted health care professionals."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the country's underrepresented populations - the same populations commonly served by essential hospitals. Leaders at Valleywise Health and America's Essential Hospitals are asking the public to maintain the most basic - and effective - health and safety measures to keep people safe. These are known as the three Ws: wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

"These are the simplest actions a person can take to keep themselves and others safe," said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America's Essential Hospitals. "Now is not the time to let our guard down. We need everyone's help to avoid overwhelming emergency departments and ICUs by remaining vigilant as we continue to face this unprecedented health care crisis."

There are already more than 8.5 million cases in the United States and more than 224,000 deaths due to COVID-19. While cases decreased in many hot spots in the early spring months, infections are rising again in many states, and some experts are concerned deaths will hit 300,000 by the end of the year.

"We see the devastation this virus causes day in and day out - especially among vulnerable groups," said Frank LoVecchio, DO, an emergency department physician at Valleywise Health. "This is truly a marathon, not a sprint, and we urge everyone to practice these simple, yet highly effective health and safety measures."

The CDC reports that most COVID-19 infections are spread through contact with an infected person or through exposure to respiratory droplets within a range of 6 feet. Washing your hands often, wearing a mask, and staying 6 feet apart from others are the most effective ways to stop the spread of the virus.

The nation's essential hospitals and health systems provide access to high-quality care for all people. They serve large volumes of patients from the most vulnerable populations, including the underinsured and uninsured.

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About Valleywise Health:

Located in Phoenix, Arizona and named one of the 100 Top Hospitals in the nation by IBM Watson Health in 2020, Valleywise Health (formerly Maricopa Integrated Health System) has a proud tradition of being the community safety net health care system with a mission and commitment to serving the underserved. Valleywise Health consists of Valleywise Health Medical Center, Arizona's only public teaching hospital, the only trauma center in Maricopa County verified by the American College of Surgeons to treat adults and children. and Arizona's only nationally verified Burn Center serving the entire Southwestern United States. Other services include the McDowell Healthcare Center, the largest provider of HIV primary care in Arizona, the Refugee Women's Health Clinic, three behavioral health centers, and 11 neighborhood health centers. To learn more, please visit http://www.ValleywiseHealth.org.

About America's Essential Hospitals:

America's Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.

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