Ronda Lehman, president of Mercy Health – Lima, has been a leader during our ministry’s response to COVID-19 this year. In fact, she was invited to speak during Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s press conference on November 9 where she shared some updates on what we are seeing in hospitals.
“Several of [our counties] are experiencing incredibly large instances of COVID positive rates right now,” Ronda shared. “On October 5 we had 17 COVID patients. Today we are at 75, and that is a stark challenge for us, and it’s not sustainable.”
Ronda said their biggest challenge is that this is a problem across Ohio and the country. Additionally, the behavior of people in the smaller communities do have a substantial impact on their local hospitals. Another challenge is having enough of critical-care trained nursing staff.
“[Our team members] are stepping up in incredible ways, and they’re really tired,” Ronda revealed. “…we’re concerned as we look down the pike and as we think about what could be ahead of us.”
People making changes to how they celebrate the holidays this year could make a big difference.
“I’m an optimist about what each of us could do individually if we make some critical behavior changes,” she said. “The last thing I want to do is give up [the holidays] and the things that are coming that we are looking forward to, but we have to do it differently.”
In fact, Ronda believes the survival of our communities is depending on it.
“The strongest gesture that anyone can make right now isn’t with their words or acknowledging people, it’s with their behaviors,” said Ronda. “I’m imploring you to dial it back, scale it back, gather less. I know we’re excited and want to be out there… We can get there… if we all just choose to make better behaviors that we’ve all been reinforcing over and over again.”
This year, Ronda is encouraging people to say no to those large in-person gatherings over the holidays, find new ways to celebrate and be an example to others in their communities.
Hospitals statewide are approaching maximum capacity and are exhausting the supply of trained personnel. Wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing as well as hand hygiene are more important now than ever!
Protect yourself and help decrease the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about how we at Mercy Health are responding to COVID-19.