Gracias. Mèsi. Thank you.

It’s the simple words I both heard and said over and over during my visits to Beebe’s four COVID-19 testing sites in Georgetown during the end of April and first week of May.

This tremendous multi-day event could not have been accomplished without our many partners: First State Community Action Agency, La Esperanza, La Red Health Center, Georgetown city government and police department, Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Georgetown, Nemours, the Delaware National Guard, Westside Family Healthcare.

Of course, we could not have led this multi-agency coalition without the guidance, support and partnership of the Governor’s Office and the Delaware Division of Public Health, who was right beside us serving our community during each day of testing.

This tremendous partnership offered a centralized location in our county for COVID-19 testing, allowing access to all and ensuring no language or transportation barrier would prevent someone from getting the information they need to better protect themselves and their families.

One thing I continue to learn about this community — and I am continually grateful for — is the robust relationship that Beebe Healthcare has with our state and community partners. It’s a partnership that stretches back long before COVID-19 rocked our everyday life.

Our Population Health Team, through their extensive and longstanding work serving Sussex County in many different ways alongside many of the partners I named above, have paved the way for the collaboration that was needed to make testing events successful.

These strengthened bonds will continue to help us all better serve our community as we look ahead to our expected peak in the coming weeks, and the long road to recovery after this virus has subsided.

We are all working toward the same goal: Keeping our community safe and healthy now, and when this pandemic passes, continuing to help everyone maintain their health and wellness.

Safety is at the core of everything we do at Beebe. When we collaborated with our state and community partners to expand COVID-19 testing in Sussex County, it was done to help prevent the spread of the virus and care for those who have been infected.

Safety is also why we opened the COVID Positive Care Center. Patients with the virus or who are suspected to have the virus can be safely treated and cared for — with the goal of taking care of their medical needs and keeping them out of the hospital. Beebe Medical Group also offers expanded telemedicine services to conduct virtual visits with patients from the safety of their home and continues to operate a COVID-19 screening line for anyone to call if they have questions or need non-emergency help related to the coronavirus.

That focus on safety extends to the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus, where the proper protocols are in place to protect both team members and patients while we continue to care for all patients, including those who are COVID-19-positive.

This relentless focus on safety is why Beebe just received our second consecutive A Grade from the Leapfrog Group, the independent national watchdog organization which is committed to healthcare quality and safety. The Safety Grade is a letter grade assigned to all general hospitals across the country and updated every six months, assessing how well the hospital prevents medical errors and other harms to patients.

We take a moment to celebrate that accomplishment and then get back to work during this pandemic. Our patients deserve nothing less that our best, and I am proud of my team for their daily dedication to quality and safety.

Dr. David A. Tam, MD, MBA, FACHE, assumed the role of Beebe Healthcare President & CEO on March 17. He has experience as an officer in the U.S. Navy and in large public health systems. He completed his pediatrics residency at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif., and a pediatric neurology fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia.