Northern Light Health Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor is seen in this May 2019 file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

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In March 1891, a public meeting was called for the purpose of forming a corporation for the “establishment, operation, and maintenance of a General Hospital for the charitable and benevolent purposes of aiding, treating and relieving the sick, injured and disabled.”

Nearly 130 years later, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center stands on that foundation. Our promise remains strong as our physicians, nurses, first responders and other frontline caregivers face the unprecedented challenges and uncertainty presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

I have been a healthcare leader for more than 20 years, joining the team at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in 2019. It didn’t take a pandemic for me to realize the decision to come to Maine was the right one. However, what I have witnessed in the past weeks makes me realize what a special place this is. This community is steeped in tradition and pride and filled with members who are deeply committed to one another.

My heart is filled with appreciation and gratitude for the commitment to compassionate care that I am fortunate to witness daily. Every day, these most amazing people show up with a single purpose, to honor the community tradition that was put in place so many years ago: to care for people when they are at their most vulnerable.

My commitment is to ensure that the health and safety of our staff and patients remain our highest priority. To that end the following plans have been put in place:

In the face of national shortages, we will work tirelessly to continuously monitor, protect and replenish our supply of personal protective equipment (face shields, masks and gowns) to provide consistent, safe care.

We will continue to coordinate local, county, state and federal resources to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide the best possible care to our community.

We will work with our colleagues throughout Northern Light Health to increase our capacity to care for critical care patients who may require ventilator support.

We will practice safe social distancing practices while expanding services through increased access to telemedicine so we can continue to care for you and your family during our COVID-19 response.

The outpouring of support from our community has been heartwarming and appreciated. From kind words to gifts of services and philanthropic donations to the unequaled grit of Mainers who have help source, and in some cases, manufacture the critical supplies we need. Maine made us community and, in the face of circumstances many of us could not have imagined, we are showing what we can accomplish together.

We have set up a hotline for questions. If you know a community member who has possible symptoms of COVID-19, please have them call 844-489-1822 and complete a phone screening to determine next steps. Please check our website for testing criteria and more information.

Rand J. O’Leary is senior vice president of Northern Light Health and president of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.