As safety-net hospitals, we have seen firsthand the devastating effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on some of the vulnerable communities in our state, disproportionately affecting low-income and minority populations. The toll this pandemic has taken on safety net healthcare providers has never been more evident, exhausting what limited resources and scarce reserves they have to help provide care and services to an overwhelming number of patients. The time has come and passed for there to be policies put in place to help protect people from further exposure and provide consequences for those who knowingly disregard them, putting everyone around them at risk.
We stand in support of the governor’s proposed rules requiring face coverings for businesses, schools, and childcare providers. It is up to our elected leaders to make the decisions needed to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and while they are never easy, they are now more than necessary. Black and brown communities have unfairly suffered the brunt of this pandemic since the beginning, with a loss of life and economic activity that will take years to recover from. These proposed rules are a more than reasonable step to help lower the transmission of this virus and ultimately help halt the pandemic that has devastated the communities we serve.
George N. Miller, board member of the Illinois Association of Safety Net Community Hospitals (ASNCH) and President and CEO of Loretto Hospital