Paris Regional Medical Center has started a Covid-19 Community Update series on its Facebook page to discuss its inpatient status, clinical information and relevant health care education.
The first video in the series was released Wednesday evening, and it features the hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Amanda Green. The first question she tackled was what it means when the hospital says there are a certain number of people in its facility with Covid-19.
“That’s the people admitted in the hospital that day. They weren’t necessarily all admitted in one day, either. People with Covid tend to stay in the hospital longer than other patients, so we have some that have been there a couple of weeks, some that were just admitted yesterday, and depending on how sick they are, that depends on how quickly we’re able to get them discharged and back home,” Green said.
The number of admitted Covid-19 patients is steady at about 10 right now, Green said. At the beginning of the pandemic, that number was around three. It’s been as high as 20, she said.
“The community is running high. It’s been at its highest and kind of staying there for a while with the (Paris-Lamar County Health District) monitoring 170 to 190 people a day who have active cases, and of course, we’ve broken 1,000 on the number of test positive patients that we have in Lamar County. We know we’ve had more than that because not everybody tests,” Green said.
According to the health district’s Wednesday report, an additional 21 cases pushed Lamar County’s total confirmed virus case count since testing began in March to 1,159. Of those, 930 cases are considered recovered and 41 cases were discovered through antibody testing. There have been 29 virus-related deaths in the county. The number of active cases had fallen to 159.
As area schools welcomed children back to campus, there hasn’t been a big spike in cases coming to the hospital, Green said. Literature from other countries found a correlation, however, those cases tended to be younger people, and Green said the hospital hasn’t seen as many young people with severe illness as older people, who are considered higher risk.
Green said the novel coronavirus is three time more infectious than the flu, and she offered advice to help continue to control its spread. The four pillars to that control include frequent hand washing and not touching your face, mask wearing, physical distancing to at least 6 feet and avoiding gatherings.
“We’re not sure of these four which percent matters more; it’s when all these four are used together that you tend to have better outcomes in terms of spread in a community,” she said.
The doctor acknowledged that people are tired of wearing masks, “but it’s really important to keep wearing masks,” she said. She also acknowledged it was difficult for parents to see their children wearing masks as they returned to school, and that the rapid pace with which data on the disease has changed has led to confusion and mistrust.
“But it is important, and we appreciate everyone who’s trying to keep other people from getting sick,” she said.
As an added bonus, the measures in place to prevent coronavirus spread have been shown in other countries to reduce the severity of the flu season. That’s no excuse to skip the vaccine, Green said, encouraging the public to get the flu shot for “added protection.”
The doctor also tackled steps to take if illness is expected, including alerting employers or schools of symptoms, wearing a mask if going outside cannot be avoided and getting tested at a trusted health care facility. Testing is best done four days after symptoms begin to reduce the chances of a false positive. Cough, fever, loss of taste and smell and fatigue are considered traditional symptoms of Covid-19, she said.
To view the full 8 minute, 46 second video, visit Paris Regional Medical Center’s Facebook page. Updates will be offered every two weeks, Green said.