COVID-19 is getting very up front and personal.
No longer some “make-believe virus that someone you never heard of got,” COVID-19 is hammering Southern California – and especially L.A. County.
The Santa Clarita Valley has not been spared the travails of L.A. County as we so often have in the past. Apparently, viruses don’t care about well-managed city governments or the mountain range that separates us from the mayhem that is the rest of the county.
COVID-19 planted itself firmly in our beloved little valley and our medical community is literally fighting for our lives – while risking their own.
This is no longer an abstraction. The COVID-19 crisis is about people we personally know and love.
I’ve had multiple friends spend days and weeks at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. My buddies have made it through. Increasingly, work associates, neighbors, relatives are getting COVID.
So far, there have been 16,000 confirmed COVID cases in the SCV, and 207 have been reported just the past 48 hours.
HMNH has treated nearly 830 COVID victims so far. Ninety-five are currently hospitalized, and 641 have recovered and have been discharged. Sadly, 70 patients passed away, despite all efforts. Shockingly, five died just over this past weekend. We truly in a terrifying COVID wave.
You may feel our fair city is under COVID siege, and it is. But whatever we’re feeling in our own lives and in our own homes, over at HMNH, they’re fighting an increasingly fierce front-line battle, working 24/7 rescuing our loved ones.
Imagine their pain when, despite all their effort and best medicine and science, patients succumb and die. The stress is constant, pervasive, mentally and spiritually exhausting.
HMNH just this Monday issued an emergency “code triage” — meaning “all employees are to inform Human Resources of their availability to either work extra shifts or to take on a task outside of their usual job responsibilities.”
It’s “all hands on deck for multiple duties and multiple shifts.”
HMNH is being tested like never before in our community history.
Staff at HMNH are true fighters and real heroes right now. When this COVID disaster is over, we should never forget the work and commitment of the doctors, nurses, all the service staff, and professional management of our fine hospital.
Nor should we forget those who’ve helped build HMNH to the respected facility it is today. Recently, we lost dear Cheri Fleming, one of the hospital’s greatest advocates and benefactors. And sadly, just this week we lost our friend and past HMNH Foundation President Diana Vose. These two were true giants to our community — and to building our valued hospital.
Cheri and Diana led the example — and now it’s our turn to step up and support this battle and the certain medical challenges to come.
Recently, I spoke with HMNH Foundation President Marlee Lauffer. Marlee explained how we can best help:
“As a not-for-profit stand-alone independent hospital, our biggest need is philanthropic financial support from our community. Donations can be made through
HenryMayo.com or mailed to 23845 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355.
“Right now, we especially ask for donations to our new tower fund — three of the floors are currently serving COVID patients. This is our greatest need.
“Businesses can become corporate partners, and individuals can contribute. ‘Health care heroes’ can be recognized and honored with a donation — all are appreciated. Donations of all amounts are welcomed. Should people be interested in significant donations or naming opportunities or planned giving, please contact us.”
Thousands in our community have already donated personal funds and effort to build HMNH to the outstanding facility it now is. A cornerstone and a source of great pride and confidence to our community, today we would be in true dire straits without HMNH.
Doctors, nurses, support staff and management are deep in this fight. And you and I can back them up with our personal financial support. Please call the foundation at 661-200-1200 to begin your contribution toward, quite literally, saving our neighbors.
HMNH staff are our hometown heroes in today’s COVID war. Support the cause as they all battle on for you and me.
Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.