Amy Brandt, Communications Coordinator at Olympic Community of Health
With the outbreak of COVID-19, Olympic Community of Health’s purpose statement resonates on a whole different level: “Tackling health issues that no single county or Tribe can tackle alone.” Collaboration, innovation, and teamwork are pillars which our work relies upon. In these urgent and frenzied times, we are invited to continue leaning on these pillars to collectively support our communities, those in most need, and those providing care.
Olympic Community of Health works closely with hospitals, primary care providers, behavioral health providers, community-based organizations, and social service agencies. To say our partner’s have their plates full is a severe understatement. Their plates are always full on any given day, let alone amidst a pandemic. The Olympic region is lucky to have such collaborative and committed providers and organizations prioritizing community health. During the snowstorm a few months ago, I remember hearing about a few partners who cross country skied from their homes to their clinic in order to keep their doors open to clients in need. As the world is currently facing a crisis a bit more complicated than a snowstorm, I have witnessed a response from the Olympic region of even higher levels of courage and commitment.
Our partners are currently balancing the frenzy of COVID-19 with standard appointments, duties, their personal health, and family needs. Limited staff, resources, information, and time are adding to the complexity of the issue at hand.
A few examples of challenges partners are facing:
Shortage of COVID-19 testing materials
Constantly changing information and recommendations
Working to centralize testing locations
Closing of some Tribal borders
Extreme shortage in personal protective equipment
Implementing telehealth in rural parts of the region
Supporting the health and wellness of staff
Reducing waiting room capacity to adhere to national recommendations
Reducing shelter capacity in order to adhere to national recommendations
The list could go on and on, as we are in uncharted territory. OCH is actively working to best support the region during these unprecedented times and creatively brainstorming an action plan. We are also working closely with other Accountable Communities of Health and the Health Care Authority to determine ways in which we can better support the community during these challenging times.
As a community, our biggest support is to encourage and practice social distancing, show kindness to those we encounter, and take initiative if you come up with a creative solution. If you have resources you would like OCH to share, please reach out at OCH@olympicch.org.