Every day we wake up to the latest news on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This situation has dominated the media and our shared conversations for the past few weeks. As health care providers, we have the opportunity to be leaders in these conversations and the source of true facts.

This month, as we focus on our core value of Integrity, we can bring this value into real-time consideration.  Samuel Johnson, 18th-century author and playwright, said, “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”  When we speak and act honestly, we build trust. Our community is trusting Adventist HealthCare to help them navigate through all the messages about COVID-19 to keep them safe and healthy.

Our teams have worked very hard to manage these kinds of situations. We have prepared for countless scenarios, from minor incidents to large-scale disasters.  We have developed responses and protocols, testing our emergency processes with clinical rigor to quickly respond to an evolving situation. Our messaging is carefully reviewed to ensure that truth about this virus is communicated appropriately. Our preparation is thorough because this is what it means to live our mission in extending God’s care.

Our mission calls us to meet each challenge with care and compassion toward each other and our community. To be aware and sensitive to the suffering experienced by those directly impacted by COVID-19 and the growing anxiety present in the community at large. We need to remember that in the middle of all this uncertainty, our mission is about people.  People who are afraid and nervous about what this means for them and their families. People, driven by fear, acting and behaving less than ideally toward one another.

Our response to this and any crisis affirms and challenges our capacity to extend God’s unconditional love to every person.  If there ever was a time for our community to feel the embrace of care and compassion, it is now. Poet Frank O’Hara wrote, “In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again whom we love.” Again and again, with every new day and every new challenge, we make the choice to love—as we have been loved by God—and to serve with the strength that God provides.

“Love one another as I have loved you” is the way I remember the Bible verse I learned when I was growing up. It turns out to be just the right way of describing what a crisis like COVID-19 requires of us each day.

It is important to me that each of you, first of all, take care of yourselves and remain healthy by following these simple guidelines: Stay home when you are sick, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and clean work surfaces frequently with a disinfectant. Please print the attached guidelines and share with family and friends. I am confident that together we will emerge from the challenge we face.

Adventist HealthCare is taking appropriate steps to protect the safety of our caregivers, patients, team members and community.