Letter to Bismarck-Mandan Residents

To the Residents of Bismarck-Mandan:

For the past several months, we’ve all watched as COVID-19 spread throughout our community, leaving impacts both big and small. However, it’s only recently that those effects have become more severe, as the virus rapidly spreads in the community. And now, we need to respond.
There are countless ideas as to how we should do so, but there’s one that we all agree will make the biggest impact – masks.
While they won’t solve every aspect of this emergency, they’re the single most efficient and effective measure we can take. That’s because wearing a mask reduces the spread of the virus to others and if we collectively can do this, then we’ll slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community.
If we don’t, then we risk…

  • Putting increased pressure on the health care system. We’re so fortunate in our area of the country to have access to the kind of health care resources that we do. The nurses, doctors and staff at CHI – St. Alexius and Sanford Health have responded in an incredible way, but we have to do our part. While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, we want to make sure our hospitals continue to have the space they need to take care of us. It’s not just COVID-19 patients who are in the hospital. More than 80 percent of patients in the hospital are receiving care not related to COVID, such as recovering from a heart attack or stroke. Our hospitals have always answered the call when we’ve needed them. It’s time for us to do our part and help them during these unprecedented times by helping flatten the curve of infection.
  • Keeping students out of school. Last spring, when schools were closed, we saw the first signs of the adverse impacts these closures can have on our students. Being separated or isolated from their friends, not having activities and less time with their teachers are all things that have lasting effects. Plus, as more teachers and staff are quarantined or isolated, there is the real chance we won’t have enough to keep schools open. This will impact our higher education institutions in serving our post high school and adult students as they strive to achieve their higher education and professional career goals
  • More business closures. If we can’t control the spread of COVID-19, elected leaders will have no choice but to enact restrictions that will limit the size of gatherings, reduce business capacities and perhaps even close businesses. All in an effort to limit the spread of the virus and preserve hospital capacity. These closures or reductions in capacity will then trickle down to the employees themselves who will have less opportunity to provide for their families, reinvest in the community or support local businesses when possible.

Masks are not a cure-all; we know that. However, in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, social distancing and washing your hands, they are our best weapon against this virus.

It is with all of this in mind, that we as the community’s business, healthcare and education leaders support mask wearing. To preserve hospital capacity, to ensure students can go to school and to keep businesses open, wear a mask.

Dr. Mike LeBeau
President, Sanford Health – Bismarck Region

Kurt Schley
President, CHI St. Alexius Health

Dr. Jason Hornbacher
Superintendent, Bismarck Public Schools

Dr. Mike Bitz
Superintendent, Mandan Public Schools

Dr. Doug Jensen
President, Bismarck State College

Monsignor James Shea
President, University of Mary

Dr. Leander ‘Russ’ McDonald
President, United Tribes Technical College

Brian Eiseman
Chair, Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC Board of Directors

Val Weigel
Vice Chair, Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC Board of Director