I have been fortunate to meet many of our community members, but after 2 ½ years in my position as president and CEO at Memorial Community Hospital and Health System (MCH&HS), I want to reintroduce myself with the hope that my face will become more familiar and you will feel comfortable to approach me with any questions or concerns you may have about our healthcare services and facilities.
I moved to Blair in March 2018 from Alma. I love living in this great community and have been able to become involved in local groups and organizations. I am a member of the local Rotary, a board member of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, and an executive board member of Gateway Development Corporation.
The improvement of healthcare in our state, as well as in our great country, has been extremely important to me and I am actively involved in advocacy through state and national associations that work on furthering access, availability and quality of healthcare.
Going forward, I have been given the opportunity to contribute with a column in this publication regularly and I am looking forward to discussing various topics that relate to healthcare in general and to our great facilities here in Blair, as well as Fort Calhoun and Tekamah. While lots of information on COVID-19 can be found, in this first article I want to talk about finding credible information in a rapidly evolving situation such as COVID-19.
In early spring 2020, MCH&HS, along with the rest of the world was faced with a situation that we hoped we would never encounter: a worldwide pandemic. During the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we received directives from many sources, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and other partners within the healthcare community. As with any new and unknown situation, directives were updated and changed on a regular basis as new findings were shared from sources that are continually studying the virus. As scientists will explain, the larger the number of cases that are studied, the more reliable information will become. As we moved through the months, many of the recommendations changed based on evolving science and the benefit of a greater knowledge base.
MCH&HS has been following and will continue to follow the advice of the CDC along with DHHS and the Directed Health Measures in order to implement best known practices to protect our patients, visitors and employees. We will continue to make updates in our processes as well as in our facilities in order to provide the best and safest personalized care. We all hope that COVID-19 will pass, however, the safety precautions that are being implemented now will last well into the future. These measures will also allow us to better treat patients that are impacted from other communicable diseases, whether these diseases are already known, such as influenza, or they are ones that have not yet surfaced.
Any time there is an ambiguous situation and recommendations change frequently, the internet is a popular resource to try to find your own answers. In this world of easy access to information, there is a high risk of encountering incorrect or misleading information about COVID-19.
Because it’s a new disease, we know less about it than we do about other illnesses. In this information void, misinformation can thrive. There are many reliable websites where you can find credible health information. Whether you are finding information yourself or it’s being shared with you by someone in your circle of friends, family or coworkers, please make sure to assess the credibility of the content.
The most credible sources related to COVID-19 are the CDC (CDC.gov), the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (dhhs.ne.gov), or your local Health Department. Please be extremely cautious about articles that have been shared on social media, as there is no requirement for these articles to be based on science or reliable information.
Manny Banner is the president and CEO of Memorial Community Hospital and Health System.