St. Charles CEO: ‘We can’t give up’ in fight against COVID as cases continue to rise

St. Charles President and CEO Joe Sluka on Friday urged the community to stay strong in its fight against COVID as local cases continue to rise.

“No matter how fatigued you may be by the restrictions in place and changes to our lives, we can’t give up,” he said in an email to subscribers. “In fact, now is the time to continue staying strong and fighting even harder to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Sluka laid out some sobering stats over the last seven months:

  • 22 Central Oregonians have died from COVID.
  • 1,598 Central Oregonians have contracted COVID, and many have had significant health impacts.
  • St. Charles has had more than 150 COVID patients; 31 have spent time in the ICU
  • The average length of stay for ICU patients with COVID is more than 15 days.

And this past week, Sluka says there have been another 97 positive cases in Central Oregon – higher than its been since early August.

“All of this is to say that COVID-19 continues to be a real and very serious threat,” he said. “Our numbers are up, which translates to people needing costly intensive care that could result in a lifetime of health-related struggles.”

He shared some videos from St. Charles caregivers across the region, hoping to drive home the importance of remaining vigilant.

“They understand that COVID-19 is serious. And they care about your health and the health of our communities. I hope you will listen to them,” Sluka said. “That you will continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, physically distance yourself from others and stay home whenever possible.”

He also shared a video from Dr. Sanaz Askari on why this year the flu shot is more important than ever.

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