Minnesotans continue to come together by social distancing and staying home. Although we are not through this pandemic yet, our path has become more clear. Our state leaders, led by Governor Walz (with input from public health officials, epidemiologists and other experts), appear to have a plan in place that focuses on high volume testing, contact tracing and isolating those who are infected until they are considered low risk for transmitting COVID-19 to other people in the community. Powerful and important collaborations have emerged between Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota and Minnesota’s governmental agencies that should have us well-positioned to execute a measured and stepwise re-opening, based on science and supported by resources.
We know that as testing ramps up, more cases will be found. It will appear that things are getting worse as testing expands. Do not be disheartened. Our enhanced testing capabilities will give us the opportunity to get our arms around what is and has been in the community for weeks. Shining a light on the reach of this virus will help us as we continue to plan, prepare and protect Minnesotans.
Many thanks to Governor Walz for navigating these unprecedented times with care, compassion and courage, looking to the best available science and evidence to lead the way. We are grateful, too, for the collaborative efforts of Minnesota’s healthcare systems and institutions and, mostly, for our friends and neighbors who continue social distancing and staying home. These combined efforts have led to Minnesota’s ability to “flatten the curve.”
If we continue to act based on the evidence and experts’ advice, it appears Minnesota will have the necessary healthcare capacity in place—our hospitals and health systems should be able to administer care to patients without resources being overwhelmed. With the testing infrastructure increasing, we may start seeing some light and feel nearer to the end of this tunnel.
TO MINNESOTA’S FAMILY PHYSICIANS:
We continue to be grateful for you, inspired by you and encouraged by the difference you are making in your communities. You have adapted as healthcare has rapidly changed over the last two months, quickly moving to telehealth visits, finding new ways to connect with patients and preparing your hospitals and clinics to find the safest way to care for your patients and healthcare workers. You continue to step up for your communities and each other, including advocating for more support for primary care and for community members who will be hardest hit by this pandemic.
We want you, Minnesota’s family docs, to know that the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) is here for you. We are member-led, member-driven and family medicine strong. We are fighting for you—more than 3,100 family physicians across Minnesota—and the new health system that will rise out of this pandemic response. This new system MUST better support its foundation (primary care). Change will continue, and we will work with you to help shape that change.
Renée Crichlow, MD, FAAFP (@reneecrichlowMD)