Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about how fortunate we are here at St. Charles that even during these difficult times, local companies and individuals have stepped up to support us throughout this pandemic.

In addition to donations of personal protective equipment, gifts to our Hero Fund and notes of appreciation and encouragement, we have received so many deliveries of food, drinks, self-care items and more to help our caregivers during this stressful time. I can assure you these donated items were greatly appreciated. They have helped our people care for this community, and they will continue to do so as we navigate the next several months.

With many Central Oregon businesses starting to reopen, it’s time for all of us to think about how we can give back. We know that restaurants and retailers are suffering from the severe economic impact of COVID-19. Last week, I emailed our army of 4,500 caregivers and urged them to go out and support them as they have supported us. And I hope you’ll recognize that by supporting us, those restaurants and retailers were supporting you – our community. Please join us in returning the favor.

Here are just a few ideas on how you can help:

  • The list of businesses that have donated to St. Charles over the past couple of months is very long, and if we tried to compile one, we run the risk of leaving some out. So instead, I simply want to encourage you to pick a local company to support – safely, while wearing a mask – by buying something you need or ordering a take-out dinner. When you do, snap a photo and post it to social media with a note of gratitude. (Please be sure to tag @STChealth so we can “like” it.)
  • Visit SOS Bend and purchase gift cards to a business of your choice.
  • Buy a T-shirt from the Here for Good - Oregon effort of a local screen printer in Sisters, where proceeds also go to support local businesses of your choice.
  • Visit Central Oregon SOS for other resources and information on how to help.

In addition to these ideas, St. Charles as an organization is sharing information with our local health departments on how to reopen businesses safely. We are working with those same departments to provide additional staff resources and assist with contact tracing throughout the region. And now that our stockpile of PPE is more robust, we have been able to donate excess supplies to our community partners in need through the tri-county emergency operations center.

Thank you in advance for helping us show businesses across Central Oregon how much St. Charles cares about rebuilding a vibrant, thriving local economy. They have had our backs through this crisis. Rest assured, we will have theirs for as long as it takes.

One last thing: This coming weekend, May 30-31, Oregon State University will bring a COVID-19 research project called TRACE to Bend. With support from Deschutes County Health Services, the TRACE team will visit 30 Bend neighborhoods to conduct random, door-to-door COVID-19 testing. Note: The swabs used for these tests collect material from inside the entrance of the nose and are less invasive than those that collect secretions from the throat and the back of the nose.

Results from the project will help us understand how prevalent the virus is in Bend, and at this point, everything we can learn about COVID-19 is absolutely vital. So if you get a knock on your door Saturday or Sunday, I want to encourage you to please consider participating in the project. You can learn more about TRACE here.


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