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Support our healthcare workers with white lights, bows

One important lesson this pandemic has taught us is just how important we are to one another. The way our community has worked together to fight COVID-19 has been heartening. Churches and organizations have provided food and meals to those in need; educators have gone out of their way to help children learn; neighbors have leaned on each other, and picked up groceries for the elderly, and of course, we have worn our masks.
And, we’re not done yet. The number of coronavirus cases is surging everyday in Northeast Tennessee. One day this week, Carter County had 81 cases and five deaths; another day, 45 cases and two deaths. Folks, these are family members, friends and neighbors, people who we attend church with. They have names and their faces are familiar.
Thursday, Northeast Tennessee reported its 500th novel COVID-19 related fatality, doubling its count in the 40 days since Halloween. That same day Ballad Health reported a record 69 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, an increase of seven from Wednesday’s then-record total of 62. It came on the same day that Ballad announced the morgue at Johnson City Medical Center was full, sharing a photo of its refrigerated morgue truck parked outside JCMC on social media.
It has been surge on top of surge, as Ballad this week topped 300 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
With this surge in new cases, healthcare workers are facing their most difficult days. They are our heroes and they have been on the frontline from the start — since March. Now, more than ever they need our support.
As the Christmas holiday approaches, we ask the community to show their support for our healthcare workers — nurses, doctors, aides, respiratory therapists, paramedics, and all others crucial in the care of COVID-19 patients. All are essential and play an important part in the well-being of patients. We ask you to show your support by adding some white lights or bows where you can — include them in your Christmas decorations or place them in the doors and windows of your home or business. You can even pin a white ribbon or bow to your lapel or tie one to your car antenna.
Without a word, you can tell healthcare workers thank you. It’s a simple act of gratitude that can be shared over and over.
It’s called Operation White Lights and it is a movement that is spreading across the nation from city to city and honors the sacrifice, compassion and care of healthcare workers during the pandemic. The goal is as caregivers come and leave their shifts, seeing a flurry of white will remind them that the community has their back and we are thankful for their dedication to provide hope and healing.
White was chosen because it symbolizes hope and unity and shows appreciation to those essential healthcare workers.
With the increased number of hospitalizations, this Christmas season is going to be busy for healthcare workers. Operation White Lights is a way to lift up those workers and bring us all closer together during a time when we are practicing social distancing.
We encourage the community to get on board. Show your support with some white lights and bows.