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Cincinnati area hospitals boost security against ‘violence, vile words,’ key leader says

"I don’t know how else to say this – please be kind. The toll of this pandemic has been enough,...
"I don’t know how else to say this – please be kind. The toll of this pandemic has been enough, please don’t make it harder," wrote Christa Hyson, spokesperson for the Health Collaborative.(Source: WVUE)
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 2:39 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) - A key leader in the Cincinnati region’s pandemic response pleaded Monday for kindness to health care workers enduring such “physical violence, vile words, and downright cruel behavior” that hospitals have intensified security at its doors.

“It makes me physically upset to type this, but it must be said,” began the social media posting from Christa Hyson, a longtime local public health official and spokeswoman for the Health Collaborative. The organization, as the medical industry’s conference board, has been organizing the region’s defense against the novel coronavirus and tracks daily bed counts in more than 40 hospitals in 14 counties.

“We are currently going through one of the most stressful periods in modern history – and unfortunately human behavior is making it worse,” Hyson wrote on her LinkedIn page. “In March, April and May of 2020, my inbox and voicemail was flooded with offers for food, PPE donations, and thank you cards for health care Workers. the public clapped, planes flew overhead, and people did their part and stayed home.

“Now? Angry calls, physical violence, misinformation spreading like wildfire, and a refusal to accept evidence-based solutions as fact,” Hyson wrote. “The delta variant is overwhelming our health care systems. From rural to urban healthcare settings - we are operating with a fraction of the staff we had last year. I don’t know how else to say this – please be kind. The toll of this pandemic has been enough, please don’t make it harder.”

Hyson told The Enquirer that she was not at liberty to discuss specific incidents at hospitals in the region or what additional security measures have been taken.

Hyson noted that on June 14, the region’s hospitals had 62 COVID-19 patients, with 26 in intensive care and 26 on ventilators. On Sunday, there were 521 patients, 145 in intensive care and 115 on ventilators.

All indicators on the collaborative’s situational dashboard “continue to move in the wrong direction,” a note on the website says.

Hospital officials across southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky have said through the pandemic that people have confronted their workers over even whether the new coronavirus is real. The struggle has taken different forms. Two weeks ago, the wife of a COVID-19 patient at West Chester Hospital went to court to demand that doctors treat her husband with an untested remedy. One judge ordered the treatment, although another rescinded that order.

Hyson ended her LinkedIn plea with ways to help health care workers, including to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. “Masks have unfortunately become politicized. It is just like any other harm reduction method – like a seatbelt. This is not a hard thing to do.”

“Please get vaccinated for COVID-19. Make sure to receive vaccine information from evidence-based sources – not unverified social media accounts,” she wrote.

She also asked the region to save the emergency room for emergencies. Hospital officials warned earlier this month about ERs being swamped by asymptomatic people seeking COVID-19 tests.

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