By Carl Vaagenes, CEO of Alomere Health

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. While listening to a governor’s press briefing last week on how COVID-19 is overwhelming our hospitals and nursing homes, a physician from Willmar painted a vivid picture of the situation that depicts a powerful, yet grim story.

Imagine healthcare workers running into a burning building to contain the fire and save the lives of their friends, neighbors and family impacted by COVID-19. As they work frantically to pull people out of the fire, they realize that some people are starting more fires and they're spreading out of control.

As the fires keep growing, more lives are impacted and lost, and they’re running out of healthcare workers needed to contain the fire. Some healthcare workers are asphyxiated and consumed by the fires, causing the remaining to work even harder, while becoming exhausted and overwhelmed. Get the picture?

As your hometown healthcare providers, you can help protect us from being completely overwhelmed, so we can do your best to keep you and your family safe and healthy over the approaching holiday season.

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The choices you make regarding gatherings in the next weeks will directly impact what we will experience in the weeks and months to come. Please help us help you in the best way possible.

Limit your social gatherings over the next several weeks and protect yourselves which help protect others. Wear the mask. Wash the hands. Avoid gatherings. Keep an appropriate distance from others.

We want to serve you in the best way possible, not only through the holidays and after, but for years to come. Please help us do what we love to, so we can serve you in the best way possible. Together, we can contain and stop the fires.

Carl Vaagenes is the CEO of Alomere Health in Alexandria. In the Know is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.