MRH CEO Andy Daniels responds to CNN story about Craig hospital
According to a new statement from Memorial Regional Health CEO Andy Daniels, when CNN asked to do a story at the hospital about the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in rural Colorado, the hospital’s hope was to educate.
Instead, Daniels says in the statement, CNN made things political. That’s not what Daniels — who was seen on camera saying he was “embarrassed for Colorado” over the anti-vaccine messaging of Western Colorado’s Congressional representative, Lauren Boebert — was looking to do.
Following is the statement in full, as provided to the Craig Press by MRH.
A Statement from Memorial Regional Health CEO Andy Daniels on National News Feature
As CEO of Memorial Regional Health, my primary responsibility is to ensure that our community has access to safe, quality healthcare. Since March of 2020, our organization has been dealing with the many challenges of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
From the beginning, the MRH leadership and medical staff have relied on health experts from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to implement the best and safest practices in order to keep our staff, patients and visitors safe. Our science-based decisions have proven effective in reducing the spread of illness and keeping people healthy.
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MRH has also proactively and transparently communicated to our community all relevant information related to COVID-19, even when it was information that was tough to hear. MRH took the lead, alongside our Public Health partners, to roll out the vaccine as soon as it was available, and we continue to do so.
We are saddened that over 1,300 people in community have tested positive for COVID-19, and we mourn for the families and friends of the 28 people who’ve lost their lives.
Now, with the rapidly spreading and more aggressive Delta variant of COVID, my level of concern for our community is higher than ever. I know without a doubt that more people will become severely ill and will undoubtedly lose their lives.
When we were approached by a national news outlet to participate in a story about the rise in COVID-19 cases, specifically in rural communities, we saw it as an opportunity to further educate about the dangers of the virus and how it can impact small, tight-knit communities like ours. We wanted to share from our perspective how COVID-19 can take away loved ones from their families too soon and how and why the vaccine prevents death from occurring within Moffat County.
The approach the news outlet decided to take was political, rather than about the tragedy and tribulations our medical staff and COVID-19 patients have experienced over not only the past few weeks, but throughout the entire pandemic.
Last week, I put into place an Emergency Operations plan to address the increasing number of patients we are caring for in our COVID unit and to help address the growing fatigue of our staff. I want to be completely clear – our staff is weary. Many of them are faced with the consequences of COVID-19 each and every day.
I believe that our way out of this pandemic is getting vaccinated. This pandemic and the approved vaccines are not and should not be politicized. We must protect ourselves and each other. COVID-19 vaccines are free and available at Memorial Regional Health.
Andrew J. Daniels, MHA, FACHE, Memorial Regional Health Chief Executive Officer
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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. to include a response from the Bureau of Land Management’s national office.