Last December, we felt a mix of emotions as we welcomed the first vaccines targeting COVID-19 — while continuing to battle an unprecedented surge.
In the year that followed, we notched many achievements while working with our public health partners and others. We put shots into more than 60 million arms in California, bringing the percentage of residents with some vaccine protection to over 73 percent. Hospitalization rates fell. HASC and California hospitals weathered the worst pandemic surge so far, and case rates never again approached those seen last November through March.
HASC continued to advocate for hospitals’ financial stability. The association actively opposed a local measure forcing hazard pay for frontline workers. HASC’s Communities Lifting Communities initiative and its Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies project crafted new ideas and partnerships to reduce disparities in treatment settings that can lead to disparities in outcomes for Black mothers and children.
I’m very proud of all these things — and more — as we reflect on the year and what we’ve accomplished together.
As I write this, I’m also as aware as you are that a new COVID cloud may be bearing down on us. First, South Africa, then the U.K. and Europe, now California and many other states are feeling the presence of Omicron. Delta remains, and influenza is here too.
We know we need to prepare for another surge. We also have learned important lessons that will help us weather any storm. I know we’re stronger together, that we can help each other at key moments, and understand that constant communication pays big dividends. Know that HASC is watching the landscape, and will be with you, assisting in any way we can.
Also this month, hospitals are being pinched by a blood shortage that is already limiting options and procedures for patients. If you have news about critical needs, or about your own community blood drives, please share it with us.
I want to thank you for your insights, concerns and camaraderie over the past year. I’m tremendously proud to represent this organization as we pass through this critical and challenging time. I’m also dedicated to solving the very particular issues that may affect you. As always, please reach out directly to me.
Finally, do pause and take in the good things that come this time of year — the family time, the food, the weather, and the reassuring nourishment that accompanies these good things.
Happy holidays, and may you enjoy hope and cheer in 2022 and beyond.
Take care and stay safe.