POCAHONTAS, AR July 10 – On Monday, August 10, BRTC welcomed 4 Northeast Arkansas physicians and health professionals to visit with faculty and staff about COVID-19. Professionals discussed the state of COVD-19 regionally, processes for managing COVID-19 patients and hospital capacity, and answered questions for employees.
Panelists were Dr. Don Howard, MD, FCCP, Intensivist at St. Bernards Medical Center and Medical Director for BRTC Respiratory Care advisory board; Dr. Scott Lewis, MD, FACEP, CMO & Emergency Physical St. Bernards Five Rivera’s Medical Center, Medical Director for BRTC Paramedic advisory board; Ms. Krystle Patterson, RN, Director of Infection Prevention at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould; Ms. Alauria Thaxton, RN, Northeast Region Patient Care Manager with the Arkansas Department of Health.
Panelists discussed many topics. Patterson shared useful hygiene practices including effective handwashing, hand sanitizer, and mask use as well as best practices for surface cleaning. Thaxton discussed contact tracing from the Arkansas Department of Health and the importance of data and communication. Howard explained what St. Bernards has been seeing in COVID-19 patients. Lewis shared how the hospitals are working together to address the pandemic locally.
Reiterated by all the panelists is how information and guidelines about COVID-19 has continually been changing. They also shared how this pandemic has caused them to increase their own personal and professional hygiene practices.
The panel was recommended by BRTC’s Emergency Management Team who has spent several months helping the college prepare for teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Matt Smith, BRTC EMT/Paramedic instructor, was the panel moderator.
Doctors recommended going to the hospital to be checked as soon as one begins having shortness of breath. For individuals who are not sure, panelists encourage erring on the side of quarantine.
For more information about how BRTC is preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic and students’ return, visit with the BRTC campus health page at https://blackrivertech.org/brtcstudents/campus-health