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It’s time to rally for our frontline healthcare heroes

Over the past few weeks, we as a society have been called to do things that are out of our comfort zone.

At first, we were asked to take the lead role — with the fantastic support of our schools — in educating our children at home.

Then, we were asked as a society to stop gathering in groups larger than 250, then it was 100, then it was 50 and then it was 10.

Businesses were called on to change the way they did business in order to cut down close interaction with customers and limit the number of people in stores. Then, for restaurants, inside dining was banned, forcing restaurants, many of which are locally owned, to convert on the fly to curbside, pickup and delivery service.

Then, we were ordered to shelter in place, restrict our access even more and abide by a curfew.

But while a majority of us have had to make sacrifices that are frustrating, it is important to remember that if followed, the restrictions are temporary.

For one group, their classification of essential just doesn’t fit. While those of us in the media are considered essential, what we do does not save lives. The information we provide is crucial, but missing a story or an edition does not put a life at risk.

That is not the case for this particular group — our healthcare workers and first responders.

Wednesday, we published a story detailing the warnings healthcare officials are sending out in regard to the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus and the importance of staying home and social distancing. Accompanying the story were photos of just a small handful of these professionals donned in their personal protection equipment; items crucial to keep those providing the treatment safe.

It is a shame such items are as scarce as they are locally, nationally and globally.

But what is also is a shame is that these community heroes are having challenges meeting their most basic needs.

Wednesday, the Vicksburg Warren Chamber of Commerce sent an email to chamber members saying frontline healthcare workers have said, while they have what they need to fight the illness at work, some are in personal need of toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper.

“… healthcare workers have been so overwhelmed that many of them did not have an opportunity to stock up supplies for their own homes and are in need of toilet paper,” Chamber President and CEO Pablo Diaz said in the email. “We know these are very hard times for everyone, but in the off chance you have extra supplies of toilet paper available, please communicate with me and I will put you directly in contact with the right person at the hospitals coordinating the effort to give our healthcare workers these much-needed supplies for their personal use. The hospitals working on this initiative will pay for the supplies.”

The time, sweat and tears these frontline healthcare officials have given thus far — and are expected to give in the coming weeks and months — leaves us with no reason but to rally and support them, ensuring they and their families have the most basic of needs covered.