This week we mark one year of living in a world changed, and each day I think about what we have endured together and how we are moving forward. In one of my first notes when we entered this pandemic, I vowed that we would emerge from this historic time as an even stronger and more inspired community. Your efforts – both individually and collectively – have proven this to be true.
As we look ahead to the spring, there are many reasons to be hopeful. Thanks in part to our own discoveries, there are effective vaccines. We developed a robust surveillance testing program, and our incidence of infection remains extremely low. Our mitigation efforts are working, and we have documented only 52 positive cases since last March, with zero reported workplace transmissions in PSOM. We have learned how to operate safely during this time, giving us the assurance that we can continue to return gradually to pre-COVID conditions wherever possible.
At the same time, the impact of COVID cannot be erased or ignored, and I want to acknowledge the immense sadness we have felt throughout this period. We have lost those we love, and in our grief, we have been unable to console one another in person. We have lost time with those we love, often spending long periods alone or physically distanced. And, while there are vaccines, we are limited by availability of supply and city guidelines. For many, this has added to our isolation, disappointment, and frustration. Please know that you are not alone in these feelings. I, too, am eager to be vaccinated as soon as I am eligible.
Penn Medicine continues to partner on vaccine roll-out, including the latest collaboration to administer COVID-19 vaccine at Penn Medicine Radnor and with Mercy Catholic Medical Center. When provided with the supply and as city guidelines allow, Penn Medicine is ready. In the meantime, we strongly encourage signing up for a vaccine through local lists to maximize potential opportunities.
In addition, PennMedicineTogether continues to provide resources to deal with COVID-19 challenges together. The University also recently announced that Wellness at Penn has partnered with Wellnest to offer all students, faculty, and staff free access to their mindfulness app, which provides users an opportunity for mindful reflection to promote overall wellness and support during these difficult times.
In the note I referenced earlier, I also shared a powerful image, a reminder of the heroic and tireless efforts of every member of Penn Medicine who has made sacrifices so that we can continue to support and serve our patients, community, and each other.
I am grateful for you, and I thank you for your resilience and fortitude as we make our way through to the other side – yes, stronger and more inspired than ever.
Jon Epstein, MD | EVD/CSO
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