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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

5 tips for online safety

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Denise Lenarz,MD

You teach your children not to open the door to strangers or to admit that they are home alone when answering the phone, but are you teaching them to be safe online?

In the summer, your kids probably spend more time on their devices than usual. Whether used for fun or to learn, the internet is a great tool. But it can be dangerous. Go over these five online safety tips with your kids:

  1. Limit information. Your kids should never post personal information online such as full names, birthdays, home address or phone numbers.
  2. Choose wisely. The internet is forever. Once your kids share a post, picture or video, it can never be permanently deleted. Teach them to be thoughtful and cautious about what they post and share online.
  3. Don’t talk to strangers. If your kids don’t personally know someone, they should not be talking to that person online. Predators create fake profiles to hide their identities. Check your children’s privacy settings to make sure strangers can’t see their profiles. Sometimes privacy settings are reset to default settings during program updates, so be vigilant.
  4. Use stealth mode. Watch out for apps, networks and devices that have geo-tagging features to broadcast locations. Make sure these features are turned off so predators cannot locate your children.
  5. Guard passwords. If your children are younger, talk to them about not sharing their passwords with anyone other than their parents. For older kids, show them how to create strong passwords.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting “screen time” to two hours a day for children older than 2.

For more ideas, read the Department of Homeland Security’s “Chatting with Kids about Being Online.”