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Letter: Keeping up the good work

COVID-19 and the ripple effect in our community have challenged us all. That doesn’t stop the members on the Community Health Care Collaborative (CHCC). We are still here, pandemic or not, to help assure residents of Freeborn County continue to have access to resources that will assist with their health and well-being in this new environment.

The Community Health Care Collaborative (CHCC), serving Albert Lea and Freeborn County, was launched in 2019 and is made up of community organizations working together to improve the health and well-being of the community through awareness, education and resources. The core team includes representatives from various community service organizations committed primarily to the needs identified in the Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by Freeborn County Health and Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea. Mental well-being, chronic disease and access to care rose to the top of the list and is a priority for CHCC.

Recent initiatives include providing a Road to Resiliency program and Safe Routes to School materials to our area middle and elementary schools. Road to Resiliency, a Mayo Clinic Health System publication, provides a virtual program where parents and kids can find various resources that can help buffer the negative effects being experienced during this pandemic. Safe Routes to School maps, donated by SHIP and the Blue Zones project, assist kids and parents determine the safest route to walk or bike to school.

Providing health education to seniors over the past two years had been one of the most successful initiatives to come out of the CHCC. We are actively working on adapting the delivery of that information virtually. Thorne Crest Senior Living Community recently partnered with Mayo Clinic Health System experts to provide a webinar focusing on social isolation, a challenge facing all ages, especially seniors. (You can view the webinar at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTaatwgBvz4). The annual Lloyd and Ardis Peterson Cancer Symposium was held virtually this year as a webinar. (You can view it at https://youtu.be/FCMkgI-ezuk.)

Last but not least, especially due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in southeast Minnesota, we emphasize the importance of following CDC and MDH guidelines to prevent the spread:  wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings to keep you, your family, friends, neighbors and community healthy and safe.

We are proud of the work the Community Health Care Collaborative is undertaking and will continue to partner on improving the health and well-being of our community members.

On behalf of the Community Health Care Collaborative,

Ellen Kehr

Albert Lea