Lead by example and rise to the occasion

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“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”  -General George S. Patton Jr.

Known for his brilliance on the battlefield, Gen. Patton often had to make decisions based on limited information and time. But he knew to avoid “paralysis by analysis” and make and execute a decision the best he could. 

Our public health officer, Tom Locke, assures us that epidemics like the coronavirus are a normal part of human history. But it has been 100 years since our last pandemic.

Now, we will be tested on our ability as a community to work together and battle this out.

Wouldn’t it be great if Jefferson County became a shining example for the rest of the country on how to deal with a global pandemic?

If we continue to do what we are doing—staying home, staying healthy—we can save lives.

I am so grateful to Jefferson Healthcare which started testing very early in comparison to other counties, giving us a better chance to fight this. Jefferson Healthcare has been preparing since February, and has a plan in place if they need to increase their capacity to help those who are sick.

In 1918, we did not have the population and swift transportation we have today. So, for the safety of our community and to protect our healthcare workers on the frontlines of this, we are asked to stay at home.

There are many people asking how they can help. One way is by donating PPE (masks, etc.) to the hospital. They have a collection bin outside.

Dr. Tracie Harris, chief of medicine at Jefferson Healthcare, said what keeps her up at night is a lack of ventilators. 

“We’re faced with folks whose lungs can’t support their breathing without the help of a machine,” she said. “We have very few of those machines. I can count on two hands how many exist in this community.”

Thanks to the work of Jefferson County’s Department of Emergency Management, we are getting two more ventilators in our county. This is a showcase of how our departments, such as the Emergency Operations Center and the hospital are working together to request more PPE and ventilators for our community from the federal reserve stockpile.

But that won’t be enough.

“I get a lot of hope and peace knowing that every single one of us has a role to play,”  Harris said. “That role can be just staying home and washing your hands.”

Healthcare workers are on the front lines of this pandemic. But we all play an essential role, like Harris says. Staying at home will keep our neighbors, friends and community safe and healthy. Let’s be a good example for the rest of our state and the rest of the world. Go the extra mile, be kind to each other—especially to those who are essential and are putting themselves at risk every day.

Harris so eloquently said, “Courage in times like this isn’t defined by the absence of fear, it’s by stepping up and doing what needs to be done despite the fear.”

(Donna Etchey is the publisher of the Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader.)

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