FHN Experts Discuss Delta Variant, Back-to-School Preparation

August 18, 2021 – “We want face-to-face instruction in our schools this year,” says FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video. “Protective measures like getting a vaccination if you're able and wearing masks when necessary can make this happen.”

FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Kochsmier talk about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus and the importance of slowing down the spread of infection in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video available at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.

Gridley confirms that state laboratories have identified cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in northwest Illinois, and that local case numbers and hospitalizations are rising.

“We are doubling down on precautions to help stop the spread of the virus,” Gridley said, noting that the vast majority of FHN team members and providers are vaccinated and that masks must be worn at all FHN facilities. “We are using all of our tools, the most important of which is vaccinations, to protect the health and safety of our patients and communities.”

Vaccines are the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 “ and the way we can stop the virus from mutating into more transmissible strains like the Delta variant, Kochsmier explained.

“The more opportunity we give a virus to spread, the more it will mutate and become stronger,” she said. “When most people have been vaccinated, the virus has nowhere to go.”

Though vaccinated people can catch a “breakthrough” case of COVID-19, their bodies are better prepared to fight off the virus, Kochsmier said. “The vaccination has been very successful in preventing more severe illness and death.” Breakthrough cases are rare, she said, and usually not as severe as in those who haven't been vaccinated.

“Right now, the best thing we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones “ especially children younger than 12, who can't yet get the vaccine, is to get vaccinated and take the proper precautions when needed,” Kochsmier said. “Wear a mask, have good hand hygiene, stay away from crowds and if you spend time inside, like children in a classroom, have a window open to increase airflow throughout the room.”

Learn more about how FHN is working to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at fhn.org/coronavirus.