Watching the coronavirus hit urban areas incredibly hard over the past few months has been terrifying and sobering, but imagining the toll it will take on rural America if it spreads to the farther corners of the country is scaring me even more.

Here in Maine, the virus fortunately has not hit our rural communities as hard as Portland or other more populated areas. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t — the virus doesn’t respect county lines or city borders. We need to be prepared for the worst possible outcome so we aren’t taken by surprise and can protect our communities effectively.

The most important way to make sure rural health care networks are strong enough to handle the threat of possible coronavirus outbreaks is to ensure that they have sufficient funding and equipment to treat coronavirus patients and continue other essential services.

Sara Gideon understands this. I read a news story about a roundtable she hosted with officials from small hospitals struggling to navigate financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, and she focused on how to fund these facilities and ensure they can keep their doors open. I was very impressed with her attention to rural health care and glad to see her stand up for these communities.

We need a senator who understands the importance of rural health care — and to me it’s clear that person is Sara Gideon.

 

Charlie Hartman

Vassalboro


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