FHN Experts: Please Do Your Part to Fight COVID-19

November 24, 2021 – FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport is seeing a record number of COVID-19 patients recently, and FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley MBA, FACHE calls it an “all-hands-on-deck” situation.

“We are now seeing the highest number of COVID-19 positive patients since the pandemic began,” Gridley said, noting that more than 30 COVID-19 patients were being cared for at the hospital right before Thanksgiving.

The influx of patients, he said, is putting extra stress on FHN team members, who have been working tirelessly during the pandemic.

“We're working hard to stop the spread of this virus, and we're asking the public to help us, so we can continue to care for all of the patients who come through our doors,” Gridley said. The hospital is utilizing screening protocols and limitations on visitors, strict personal protective equipment requirements, and increased cleaning to help keep patients, visitors, and staff safe.

FHN Memorial Hospital is not limiting elective procedures and all locations are open and safe for patients to visit, he said.

“When the pandemic began, we saw that, when we delay care, people's illnesses or chronic conditions continue to get worse,” Gridley said. “Often, an elective procedure is done to alleviate suffering or pain, and we don't want to disrupt that or prolong any hardship on our patients and their families.”

“We are asking the public to please do their part to help all of us through this pandemic,” Gridley said. “Wear your mask correctly, avoid large gatherings, and please, if you haven't gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet, get vaccinated. If you're already fully vaccinated and it has been six months since your last shot, get a booster shot.”

COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to nearly anyone who wants them, said FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC.

“Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine available for children ages 5 “ 11,” she said, noting that the pediatric dose is 1/3 of the adult dose of vaccine, which is available for all people ages 12 and over.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for all adults 18 and over.

Booster shots are available to anyone who was fully vaccinated with Moderna or Pfizer vaccine more than 6 months ago. (People who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a booster shot 2 months after their first vaccination.)

“With just those age restrictions, anyone is eligible to get a vaccine or a booster shot,” Kochsmier said. It's free and simple to schedule; visit www.fhn.org for the latest information on booster shot and pediatric vaccination clinics.

View this COVID-19 video update and learn more about how FHN is working to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.