Oklahoma Spotlight: A Community’s Response to COVID-19

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    The COVID-19 pandemic is causing public health workers to get creative with how they do their work. In this post, Reita Babek, TSET HLP grantee with the Norman Regional Health System Healthy Living Program, recounts the impact of COVID-19 on her community and how they have adapted to these ever-changing, historic times.

    The unique circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 virus have changed all of our lives in some way or another. Some of us are working from home, “sheltering in place;” some full-time employees working otherwise stable jobs have had their hours reduced or even been furloughed; and then there are those Essential Employees, like our healthcare workers and previously overlooked grocery clerks, who are working longer hours in unprecedentedly dangerous circumstances.

    Although it seems we are putting all our efforts into surviving the chaos; everyone is also simultaneously searching for ways to help each other, to give back in a time where everyone is in need.

    The TSET Healthy Living Program’s lead agency in Cleveland County is the Norman Regional Health System. As a hospital, we’ve had the opportunity to witness countless community members and volunteers showing their support and encouragement in a number of creative ways. Our Community Council group wanted me to share one of these ideas on OK in the Know.

    Several people from the community drew chalk pictures and wrote messages on the sidewalks at the hospital to show support and encourage the many healers (our health system’s name for employees) going above and beyond their normal work hours and duties. One of our healers took photos of the messages and printed the images on blank note cards. Then, anyone who volunteered could take some of the notecards and write positive, uplifting messages of support for other healers working during this pandemic. There have been 300 printed. Then they turn in the cards to an appointed employee who makes sure they’re distributed to different service areas in our health system.

    This is just one creative way to encourage someone. If anyone wants to brighten someone’s day, sometimes all it takes is a handwritten note. I want to encourage anyone who wants to reach out to someone to write a note, make a phone call, text someone, email them, or do anything else—just take the time to help brighten someone’s day!


    To learn more about this community effort, or to get involved, contact Reita Babek

    E-mail: rbabek@nrh-ok.com

    Enjoyed this story? Have your own success story to share?

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    How are you taking action against COVID-19? We invite you to share your experiences in the forum on OK In the Know.


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