It was almost exactly two years ago that a team of St. Charles caregivers began planning and preparing our response to the arrival of COVID-19 in Central Oregon.

Two years later, our hospitals are experiencing what will be the most dramatic surge of COVID-positive patients of the pandemic so far, thanks to the Omicron variant.

Our caregivers know a lot more about the disease and how to treat it than they did two years ago. They also have more tools to protect themselves from COVID-19 than they did back then, including vaccination.

Still, they need your help. This surge will fill our facilities beyond capacity, and we need you to do everything you can to stay out of our Emergency Departments and our hospitals over the next few months, unless you are having a true medical emergency or you really need to be there.

One way you can avoid the ED is by avoiding those pesky wintertime slips, trips and falls that happen when the ground gets icy or snowy. As we all saw early this month, one big storm can make getting around town very treacherous.

At St. Charles, we remind our caregivers throughout the winter of nine simple tips to help keep them upright when it’s slippery outside. Here they are:

  1. Walk like a penguin: Take short, flat steps to maintain balance.
  2. Wear appropriate footwear for the weather.
  3. Give yourself more time to get places.
  4. Exit your car with both feet on the ground.
  5. Don’t carry too much. Hands free and arms out for balance.
  6. Resist shortcuts. Use paths that have been cleared.
  7. Ditch distractions (like your phone) and focus on walking.
  8. Consider using traction cleats on your shoes.
  9. Remove snow and ice from your shoes when you enter a building.

Those nine tips don’t only apply to St. Charles caregivers, of course. They apply to everyone, and that includes you.

So this winter, support our health system and our incredible caregivers by staying upright and avoiding slips, trips and falls – not to mention a trip to the hospital. You’ll be glad you did, and so will we!


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