When asked about what requests Geisinger officials are getting from the community who want to help frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, system Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rosemary Leeming said many groups and individuals have offered to bring lunch or something to ease the burden.

While Leeming and hospital workers certainly appreciate the sentiment, there is something more to offer: “The biggest thing you can do is wear a mask. Do all the things we’ve been telling you to do. We would rather you not get sick in the first place. It can’t be stressed enough, it really does work.”

Hospitalizations continue to skyrocket across Pennsylvania and the region. The story is the same everywhere across the state.

Last week, there were more than 6,000 Pennsylvanians hospitalized. Geisinger, which at one point in August had one COVID patient at its Danville campus, had more than 150. Evangelical Community Hospital had treated all of its patients and had none hospitalized in early August. It had more than 50 in beds late last week.

It means our friends, family and neighbors who work at these facilities are tired, physically and mentally. They are so wiped out from their continued response over the past eight months, many haven’t had time to use the help Geisinger has put in place. The health system has taken to embedding chaplains and behavioral health specialists with ICU teams to be there when the doctors and nurses get a minute or two break.

Front-line workers certainly received great news last week as the first batch of the coronavirus vaccine began arriving at hospitals across Pennsylvania. Within hours of its arrival, front-line workers are being vaccinated to continue a fight that isn’t really slowing right now, but one that now seems to have the finish line off in the distance.

So follow the rules and be part of the solution. Don’t sulk and push back on Gov. Tom Wolf’s new mitigation measures — which are temporary — because all you are doing is creating more stress, more work and more concern for health care workers already giving everything they have.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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