Mike Schramm and Cindy Firkins Smith, MD: Willmar officials thanked for pandemic efforts

Summary: Letter writers thank Willmar officials for their pandemic efforts.

Reader Opinion letter

We want to thank Mayor Marv Calvin, City Administrator Brian Gramentz, and all responsible for keeping our city playgrounds closed as we face this coronavirus pandemic. We understand that there are mixed messages about best practices during this pandemic and that they are under considerable pressure from many sides.

As health care professionals in this community we have been impressed that when we have shared our physicians' concerns with our city leaders, they have consistently done what is right for the health of the people of our community.

Keeping the city parks closed is a difficult decision, but it is the right thing to do.

COVID-19 is believed to be droplet-spread. People who are infected can spread it before they have any symptoms.

It’s spread by coughing or sneezing, but it can also spread when someone who is infected touch their nose or mouth or cough into their hand and touch something, a person, a door handle, or a piece of playground equipment.


The COVID-19 virus has been demonstrated to remain alive and infectious on surfaces for hours to days. There is no way to effectively clean playground equipment between and after children play.

One asymptomatic infected child could unknowingly infect many others who would, in turn, infect many more, and so on.

We sympathize with parents that are looking for ways to occupy their energetic children. This is tough.

But we at Carris Health have been working around the clock for three weeks to prepare for what we believe will be many serious infections in this community.

Your local healthcare services have been working tirelessly to prepare for the many more infections we expect to come. The more we slow the spread of this pandemic now, the better able we will be to care for the people who become critically ill in the next few weeks to months.

Please thank your children for being patient and for playing at home during these trying times.

Tell them that by doing so, they are saving the life of a neighbor, a friend or a grandparent.

This is a gift they are giving to someone they love. Be well. Be safe. Stay home.


Mike Schramm and Cindy Firkins Smith, MD

Chief Executive Officers

Carris Health

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