Rep. Cole: Show respect for others by wearing masks, listening to doctors
RELEASE|November 16, 2020

Northern Michigan hospitals sound alarm about COVID-19 surge

State Rep. Triston Cole today once again called upon Northern Michigan residents to follow COVID-19 safety protocols out of respect for their families, friends and neighbors.

“These next few weeks are critical, and we all have a personal responsibility to do the things in our power to help protect the lives and livelihoods of our friends and family members,” said Cole, of Mancelona. “Now is not the time to rail against government mandates by refusing to heed the advice of medical professionals. Going that route only risks the health and safety of your loved ones. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do what’s right to protect our communities. Choose to wear a mask and keep your distance from others when you’re in public.”

Cole, who chairs the Michigan House’s Northern Caucus, recently participated in a call with hospital leaders from Munson Healthcare and McLaren Northern Michigan to discuss their concerns about the upward trajectory of COVID-19 cases in northern Michigan.

“Northern Michigan and the U.P. are experiencing a rapid increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations,” said Todd Burch, President and CEO of McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey. “If the trajectory continues on its current path our region will see a substantial loss of life in the coming months. We need your help to turn this around today. Wash your hands and avoid spending time with anyone outside those in your household without a mask. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but we will get through this by protecting each other.”

According to Munson Healthcare leaders, the rise in community spread throughout the Northern Michigan region is causing clinical staff, support staff and providers to quarantine, making staffing challenges more significant than what the healthcare system experienced earlier in the pandemic.

“None of us want to stop long-held traditions of deer hunting camps and holiday dinners,” said Ed Ness, President and CEO of Munson Healthcare. “But this year, the importance of masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, and smaller gatherings could represent the difference between keeping healthcare services open and available in our region or placing further stress on our limited resources in northern Michigan and across the state.”

Cole urged people to focus on making memories with their immediate families.

“Spend some time out in nature and enjoy the incredible natural resources our great state has to offer,” Cole said. “Take your kids with you out to your deer blind and pass along your knowledge, so our hunting traditions carry on to future generations. You will create memories to cherish for many years to come.”

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