The nurses and leaders of Tucson Medical Center released a letter today, imploring the community to wear masks, stay home and support health care workers as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Pima County and set records in Arizona.
Here's the letter in full:
To our community,
We are writing this letter from the front lines of TMC HealthCare.
We are not strangers. We are your neighbors, your friends and your families. Our children are in the same classes, even though they’re online right now. We patronize your businesses and stand in line together at the grocery store.
We’ve been here for you when you need us the most for more than 75 years. Now, we need you.
We work day in and day out caring for our community, then we go home to care for our own families, scared we might bring the virus home and worried about what the future will bring. We’ve held the hands of patients because their families can’t. We’ve watched as cases soar, as schools close and as the hospital nears or reaches capacity almost daily. Yet, we keep going.
We know you are tired. We see you.
Now, we need you to see us. We are tired, too. We are tired of seeing young people, our elders and everyone in between on ventilators. We are tired of watching people we know get sick from this virus. Our co-workers are getting sick and we are short-staffed. It is becoming more difficult to transfer patients who have critical needs to hospitals that have ICU capacity for greater levels of care.
We have activated our surge plans to expand our capacity for COVID patients and we are working to recruit travel labor so we can staff those beds. We are doing everything we can to keep our community safe.
Now it’s your turn. Our future - your future - is in your hands.
We know we’ve asked a lot. You’ve worn masks. You’ve sheltered in place. Our community has done so much, but now is not the time to give up. We are spending our holidays caring for sick patients. We are asking you, our beloved community, to think about your loved ones and make a few more sacrifices. Please heed the advice of public health experts by washing your hands, wearing your mask in public and staying home with your families. Please stop socializing in person with multiple households for a while.
The next couple of weeks will be critical in slowing the spread, and our hospitals need to catch up. We need your help in order to do that. We need our community to rally behind us. We need support and encouragement. We need each other. We are in this together, and we will get through this together.
Judy Rich, RN
Mimi Coomler, RN
Joy Upshaw, RN
TMC Nurse Managers