Community Message March 29, 2021
As the Spring Break holidays continue, we are all holding our breath to see what transpires next. As discussed in previous articles, Governor Ivey's latest mask mandate expires on April 9. She is confident that Alabamians are smart enough to take personal responsibility for their own health and will continue wearing masks when in crowds regardless of the mandate. I sure hope she is right. Other states around us are opening back up for business at a rapid rate and many are offering vaccines to just about anyone who wants it. Currently, 34 of the 50 states are making plans to offer vaccines to ALL adults by mid-April. Alabama is still at 55 years old and over for its criteria and people are still lining up to get the vaccine. As our vaccine supply continues to get better and more consistent, I hope our State Health Officials will offer it to more of our citizens. Troy Regional continues to provide vaccine clinics in-house for our community and we have recently started offering vaccines to our community businesses. We want to get shots in as many arms as possible. Alabama is lagging (actually number 50) according to recent reports as it relates to shots per 100 people at 33.8. Lower than all of our neighboring states, even Mississippi, who is normally the brunt of all jokes.
I was at the Troy / UCF baseball games this weekend with a buddy from Jacksonville. His son pitches for University of Central Florida so I was even more happy as the Trojans took 2 of the 3 games from them this weekend. Nonetheless, my friend travels for business weekly and was complaining about all the restrictions he had to abide by every week while traveling. Wearing a mask while sitting in business class for a 2-hour flight is evidently a pain for him. I shared with him my experiences here at Troy Regional over the last 12 months of this pandemic and the meteoric rise in cases, acuity, and deaths we saw in December and January. I shared how my team was often the last faces our patients saw before passing away and how in our community, everybody is somebody special to someone we know. I assured him we wear masks for a reason and now, along with the vaccine regimen being available, our number of cases have fallen significantly, and we aren't making those dreaded calls to families to inform them of their loved ones passing. I told him over 10,500 Alabamians and 74 Pike County residents had died due to this horrible virus, and that was absolutely too many.
I heard from my friend this morning as he was once again at the airport and he snapped a selfie of himself wearing his mask. He also said he was scheduled for his vaccine at the end of this week. After this weekend, I think he got it. I hope all of us will get the message and do our part. Things are improving but we can't let our guard down.
Stay Safe! One Troy!
Rick E. Smith, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Troy Regional Medical Center