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Dear Minot Residents and Region-at-Large:

Many people are feeling fear and anxiety about the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is entirely understandable. The 2020 global pandemic of coronavirus is an “unprecedented” situation, both in nature of a public health challenge and in the steps being taken to mitigate the spread of this virus.

Trinity Health is prepared and managing the coronavirus crisis at the current rate. I want to share with you how we must all work together to keep people of northwest North Dakota healthy and safe; with this crisis there are demands of each and every one of us, individually and together, as we move forward to better days.

Make no mistake, this is a serious situation. We are not powerless and we are not alone. Please keep thoroughly washing and sanitizing your hands frequently throughout the day. Keep wiping down surfaces with disinfectant. Keep covering your cough and sneeze. Above all, avoid crowds, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people, and stay home as much as possible. It’s OK to go out for a walk, get fresh air, and clear your mind. But remember, this is no time for parties, play dates, or visiting with friends. We need everyone to limit their contact with each other right now.

We are learning to practice “social distancing” together as a community and region. This is a new way of life for our communities and region, but it is a known solution to confront this virus we face. Social distancing is not only for people in high-risk categories; it is everyone’s responsibility, because anyone can catch and spread this virus.

“Flattening the curve” is what social distancing is all about. North Dakota will see numbers increase in the coming days. But we can protect ourselves and prevent the kind of spike that could cause our healthcare system to be overwhelmed. With social distancing, we can slow the spread and give our medical providers the time and resources they need to treat everyone who needs care. We simply need everyone’s help. Social distancing is very important right now. It will help Trinity Health care for those most in need. It will help protect everyone. I know many people have questions about what’s next, and I also know, none of this is easy. Our daily routines have suddenly been interrupted. Our daily plans have been put on hold. We are missing the people we work with, our friends, extended family members, and are feeling lonely. Some working people are losing paychecks, worried about bills, and struggling with child care. For their safety, we must keep an arms-length distance from the very people we want to put our arms around the most.

Here are the facts. As of Friday, four (4) residents of Ward county have tested positive for the coronavirus. Two (2) of those cases are here in Minot. Public health officials expect those numbers to increase, but with knowledge and collective action, we can slow that growth. The most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Most people recover by managing their symptoms at home. If you think you are getting sick, isolate yourself from others, and call your healthcare provider.

I thank all of our dedicated medical providers and employees for their service to the residents of Minot and the region-at-large with these most challenging circumstances. I want all families to know, we are here for you. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call your provider, call 857-5000, or log onto trinityhealth.org for your specific coronavirus (COVID-19) questions. We have postponed elective surgeries in order to free up hospital beds. Workers are taking extra shifts to clean and sanitize work places in public areas.

I encourage you to become a “Day-Maker.” Reach out to a neighbor, to a senior, to someone with a medical condition, to a parent with a child, or to anyone who could use a word of support. Do it by phone call, text message, email, video chat, or just a smile across the hallway or the yard. Let them know they are not alone. Make their day. You might be surprised what this does for your own stress.

The Minot community is resilient, forged in hard times and committed to greater community development initiatives. We are being tested again, remember to look at who we are and the strength we possess.

We are medical professionals who heal and care for the sick. We are police, fire, and EMTs rushing to help wherever help is needed. We are teachers and child care workers who devote their lives to young people. We are military personnel and veterans who make and have made amazing sacrifices for the greater good. We are construction workers who build hospitals, schools, fire houses, homes, and workplaces. We are custodians, park workers, grocery store clerks, and small business owners. We are all now people who suddenly find themselves on the front lines of a crisis stepping forward without reluctance to help.

We are a “Magic City” and a city of comebacks. There is nothing we can’t do when we stand together. We have faced frightening situations and circumstances before, and learned what it means to be the “Force of the North.”

This is the strength we need right now. Remember, we need each other. We depend on one another. Every one of us has value. Every single one of us has a role to play, so do your part to protect our city, our communities, and our state. We have been knocked down before. But we’ve always gotten back up. With patience, empathy, love and vigilance. We will get through this together.

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