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Open Letter to the Community

By Michele Kidd Sutton, FACHE

President and Chief Executive Officer

When 7th Ward General Hospital was founded April 20, 1960, no one could have imagined that six decades later our world would be faced with a global pandemic that would impact the lives of Florida Parishes citizens.

Since those humble beginnings, the health and safety of our community have always been our highest priority, and our team continues to work tirelessly to protect us all. While we strive to meet the needs of every day patient care we must also respond to the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19.

Most of us have been impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, and I sincerely want to express my gratitude to the North Oaks team for the determination and fortitude shown during the past weeks. From our front-line doctors and nurses to the behind-the-scenes workers, I’m exceptionally proud of all who have rallied while putting aside their personal circumstances during this time.

Our employees have had to adjust to unusual working conditions, flexible schedules and limited resources during a constant state of flux. Many were forced to juggle child care arrangements amid daycare and school closures. Others have had to care for elderly parents and those with special health conditions who had to self-isolate following guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With that in mind, we have been thoughtful about procedures and policies, acting on guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health. While the reasons for these temporary changes may not always be clear, each has been made with the well-being of our patients, visitors and employees in mind.

This special issue of CommUnity was planned to provide helpful information for our friends and neighbors. Please keep in mind that events around this catastrophe are very fluid, and we have endeavored to offer material that is useful while still being timely.

I want to again commend the North Oaks team for the amazing perseverance and selflessness demonstrated during this pandemic. As the coronavirus presents new challenges, one thing has been consistent during our 60-year history: our commitment to improving lives.

I hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy as we navigate these unexpected and exceptional circumstances.