Our world has been turned upside down over the past week, as we prepare for the novel coronavirus pandemic to arrive in our community.

I’m hearing intense concern from my patients and the community, concerns regarding their health and the health of their loved ones.

Many are wanting to know how they can best prevent the spread of the virus, or they have had exposure and are concerned that they have contracted the virus. They are experiencing anxiousness about their jobs and businesses as the necessary steps are taken to combat the virus’ spread.

They have questions about how long the necessary

measures will need to be in place, and if the end result will be worth these hardships.

It isn’t often that we are able to see into the future and course correct, but looking at what happened in China, Europe and now in our cities gives us a vivid picture of the danger of not heeding the warnings. I applaud our public health and elected officials for intervening to help decrease the spread, and our community for implementing the social distancing measures.

I am proud that we have taken these steps to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, and I do feel that it will help prevent illness in our community.

I have been amazed at the ingenuity and adaptability of our community in the face of incredible adversity. Overnight, our businesses have adapted with curbside service for food delivery and products from inside their stores. Our family and friends are using the

power of virtual meeting apps and social media to be physically distant, but socially and emotionally close.

Our team at Community Memorial Healthcare has been aggressive in preparing for the fight against novel coronavirus. We are working together to ensure we are prepared in the best way possible for the upcoming challenges. The safety of our patients and all who work at CMH is our utmost priority.

With this in mind, we have revamped our screening

procedures when entering our hospital and clinics. We have also begun virtual visits to allow face-to-face communication with a provider in this time of social distancing.

To stamp out the virus, it will take sustained effort. We will need continued diligence with handwashing and social distancing. Most importantly, those who are sick must stay

home.

As employees and employers, we do our best to communicate and treat each other with kindness and understanding. Many patients may have milder symptoms and may feel able to continue working. However, their isolation at home and physical absence from work is important to prevent the virus’ spread.

Early tamping down and suppression of this virus will help keep our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, and will lead to better outcomes for those who are sick.

Importantly, suppression also gives us the power of time. Time to develop best treatments and medication protocols; time to replenish our stocks of protective masks, ventilators and equipment; time to implement more rapid and widespread testing; and time to develop a

vaccine.

During this dark time, I am hopeful. When I was driving down Broadway in Marysville this week, my heart was warmed when looking in the upstairs window of First Commerce Bank to a giant sign that read, “We’re ALL in this together.”

That is the exact sentiment we will need to combat this virus. If we can focus our efforts as one community, we can overcome this obstacle and look forward to the day when we can gather together again and say, “We made a difference.”

Shane Thoreson is a family practice physician and chief of medical staff at Community Memorial Healthcare, Marysville.