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To say COVID-19 has caused havoc on our lives would be an unfair understatement. To blame the pandemic for every woe that abounds us would also be very unfair.

The financial state of the Curry Health Network has been devastated by this virus but that's not the only reason for CHN's current monetary crisis. The recently opened, much-needed emergency center in South Curry County has come at a huge cost to the Network. That tremendous cost has reactively and drastically cut the staff and services at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach.

COVID-19 and its aftermath are to be blamed for exasperating most of this recent medical crisis. The truth is, this more accurately began as a much-divided County issue, that itself is devastating.

This county health district should have had countywide unification long ago. It's ridiculous that only the taxpayers north of the Pistol River are bearing the risks and cost of funding the more populous South County's Curry Medical Center.

South County's long-standing refusal to participate in the county health district could effectively lead to CHN's failure. That failure could tragically close the doors to the Medical Center in Brookings quickly and permanently.

I can't imagine a better time to unify this county, its health network and its citizens' health choices together than right now.

Clayton Johnson

Gold Beach

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