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Reader Opinion: Deliver care safely

I urge our local health care systems — Essentia Health, Cuyuna Range Medical Center, Lakewood Health, and others — to continue to require universal masking.

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Throughout this pandemic, I, like all of us, have experienced many disappointments. This week, however, has brought a new level of sadness. With the president declaring that the pandemic is over and the CDC limiting recommendations about universal masking in health care settings, I’m terrified about what’s to come.

Chronic illnesses have disabled me for over a decade, and despite extensive efforts to avoid COVID, I contracted it earlier this summer from an outdoor gathering. Since then, my symptoms have been more debilitating than ever, and I’ve relied on my health care team for the last few months to regain my strength and functioning. While masking is an imperfect method of source control, it has protected us. It has protected me — and other disabled, chronically ill, and immunocompromised community members — as we receive necessary care.

I urge our local health care systems — Essentia Health, Cuyuna Range Medical Center, Lakewood Health, and others — to continue to require universal masking. In our current context, this is how I and others can continue to receive the care we need safely.

Unfortunately, public health experts agree that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. I can wait until it is safe for me to return to my pre-pandemic life; however, I have to keep going to the doctor. So, please consider people like me in your practices and policies. We are here, and we deserve to live.

Devon Charlier

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Baxter

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