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A Reflection: One Year of COVID-19

Jennifer Havens, CEO of UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC)

On March 21, 2020, GRMC had confirmation of our first COVID-19 positive patient. This marks an anniversary that deserves reflection. Our team members at UnityPoint Health – Grinnell have all served a vital role – whether direct or indirect – in caring for our patients and communities during this global pandemic.

They make me proud to be a leader at GRMC. Together, our team has faced tough challenges. We have experienced personal and professional loss, and yet in the midst of so much uncertainty and change, we stood up strike teams to care for residents of our long-term care facilities. We implemented new clinic processes to keep respiratory illness separate from other illness and injury care and from those seeking well-care appointments. 

We adjusted processes and protocols through the ever-changing guidance and information, to best protect ourselves, our patients and our communities while still living our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve. We expanded our telehealth options and took necessary steps to keep our hospital and clinics safe and ready to care for patients. Each day, I could count on our team members to show up with compassion and determination.

When our team felt exhausted, individuals and organizations stepped up to let us know they were with us. Yard signs, coffee cards, snacks and donations fueled us forward when we needed it most. I’m grateful for the way our communities truly sought to understand the virus and embrace mitigation efforts to protect themselves, each other and our health care heroes.

Though we are still managing COVID-19 at work and in our personal lives, it has become part of our daily operations. Our local public health team is dedicated to the ongoing administration of vaccines, leading us closer to a brighter future, where the weight of the pandemic will continue to subside. 

We will undoubtedly learn more about the COVID-19 virus and variants in the coming months and years. As we move forward with cautious hope and continued efforts to keep each other safe, I want to share my genuine thanks and appreciation to the team members at UnityPoint Health – Grinnell and to our communities and patients for rallying with us in this past year and into the days ahead.

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