Our world changed when a local patient became the first person in the United States to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in January. It changed again in the next two months when we discovered widespread community transmission and began admitting critically ill patients into the UW Medicine hospitals. The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most serious threats to the health of the public in our lifetime.
Today, I write to thank each of you for the leadership you are showing in the face of this adversity. You have made enormous contributions to the clinical, public health and research responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. You have truly demonstrated what makes UW Medicine so special and why we provide a higher degree of healthcare to every patient. Your outstanding work is advancing our mission to improve the health of the public.
To our healthcare workers and support teams at the UW Medicine hospitals and clinics: Thank you for your dedication to caring for our patients under the most trying of circumstances. Thank you for comforting grieving family members. Thank you for preparing food in our hospitals. Thank you for keeping our hospitals and clinics clean, safe and sanitized.
To our infectious disease and critical care medicine specialists: Thank you for your outstanding clinical care and your leadership in establishing best practices through hundreds of new policies and protocols. You have enabled UW Medicine to pivot quickly and focus our resources on providing care that is safe for our patients and workforce.
To our lab medicine teams: Thank you for being one of the first in the nation to be able to test accurately and efficiently for COVID-19, for working with your colleagues to establish drive-through screening sites for employees and patients, and for providing an antibody test that will help us understand the extent of COVID-19 transmission in our community.
To our research scientists: Thank you for searching for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19 and for giving us hope that a vaccine can be developed to lessen its impact in the future.
To our Emergency Operations Center Incident Command: Thank you for your work in planning, clinical operations, supply chain management, media, communications, finance, risk management, legal, human resources and regional coordination. Your leadership allowed us to organize a highly effective system response to the pandemic across all of UW Medicine.
Based on the current forecast from the UW Medicine-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, we believe that the COVID-19 curve has flattened in our state, and we are beginning on the down slope of the curve. This encouraging news allows us to begin planning to reopen our clinics for routine care and wellness visits as well as to schedule more patients for surgeries and procedures. As we plan this transition, UW Medicine will continue to increase the availability of testing, including serologic testing, and we will review and revise our protocols and policies to protect our patients and workforce. UW Medicine hospitals and clinics must be a safe environment for our patients and our employees.
Thank you very much for the enormous contribution that you have made in leading the response to COVID-19. As our community adjusts to the next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am confident that your leadership and expertise will continue to make a substantial contribution to improving health.
My best wishes for good health!
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington