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#FightCOVIDMN: From the Breaking Point, No More Minnesota Nice

“Due to COVID-19” has become a commonly heard phrase in the last ten months, and as the pandemic has recently surged, the physical and mental health of healthcare workers draws increased attention “due to COVID-19.” Simply put, they’re exhausted and dying from treating a relentless number of COVID-19 patients, which in many places is now worse than springtime. In late November 2020, 17 of Minnesota’s leading healthcare organizations came together with an urgent message for the public. They launched #FightCovidMN, a campaign to explain what healthcare professionals are facing and ask Minnesotans for help.

What makes this campaign effective? 

#FightCovidMN is a partnership never seen before. Health care systems and hospitals normally compete with one another, but the need to reduce COVID-19 cases in Minnesota sets that competition aside. #FightCovidMN is bold and direct — the holidays are not a break from COVID-19 for healthcare workers. 

Our healthcare system is at a breaking point and facing another wave of COVID-19 cases. ICUs are staring at overflowing beds with limited workers to staff them. #FightCovidMN is using combined marketing efforts to inspire necessary change in human behavior: wearing a mask, social distancing and forgoing holiday gatherings. The goal of the campaign is to dramatically slow the community spread of COVID-19.

How long can a breaking point keep breaking?

Messaging Matters 

This message reframes the notion of “front line.” Contrary to previous beliefs, healthcare workers are not the front line. The public is. This campaign presents healthcare workers as the last line of defense in this fight against COVID-19. The goal of #FightCovidMN is to ask the public to do its part in fighting this pandemic on the front lines by altering everyday actions. 

Rahul Koranne, M.D., president and CEO of Minnesota Hospital Association, sums up Minnesota’s current situation; 

For eight months, our health care heroes have been caring for our communities. Our hospitals are full and we expect them to get fuller as the number of cases increase. Our health care heroes – the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, lab workers, aides, environmental services personnel and more – are asking you to support them by wearing a mask, physically distancing, washing your hands and laying low. They are no longer the front line against COVID-19. They are the last line of defense – the last chance for an infected Minnesotan who needs hospitalization. The public is the front line. We are extremely concerned about the trajectory of the community spread. We urge Minnesotans to come together with grit and resolve in the next few weeks with a unified goal to reduce community transmission and protect our health care workers so they can remain at work and help save lives.

News coverage documents the conditions Dr. Koranne describes. Ed Yong with The Atlantic wrote “No One Is Listening to Us,” exposing the exhaustion healthcare workers are feeling amidst other current events. Large and small hospitals are all experiencing staffing shortages from exhaustion and COVID-19 infections. Healthline reports Dr. Claire Rezba, an anesthesiologist at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, is using her personal Twitter account to memorialize the health care workers who have died due to COVID-19.

Covid isn't taking a holiday.

#FightCovidMN uses science and creativity to grab the attention of Minnesotans statewide. This campaign combines the powerful story behind the statistics with the science to fight COVID-19 to increase the public’s understanding of and commitment to the battle to contain this virus. The wide reach of this campaign from the 17 healthcare partners creates a unique media strategy. Through targeted filters like geography, age, travel and education, they are building awareness by reaching individuals on their social feeds. Out-of-home messaging is targeting people traveling and participating in high-risk exposure activities. Emotional storytelling through TV and radio will provide an even larger reach to increase awareness.

Partners of #FightCovidMN include: Allina Health, Allina Health | Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield MN, CentraCare, Children’s Minnesota, Essential Health, HealthPartners, Hennepin Healthcare, LifeSource, M Health Fairview, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Minnesota Hospital Association, Northfield Hospital + Clinics, North Memorial Health, PreferredOne, UCare and UnitedHealthCare. 

Published on: December 4, 2020