LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Baptist Health encourages residents in Arkansas and Oklahoma to be proactive to help protect themselves against the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, and to take necessary measures if they believe they have contracted the disease.
“Our health care organization is equipped to address COVID-19 and remains committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those we serve,” said Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “Baptist Health is working with the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that we are prepared to care for any patients with the disease.”
Baptist Health’s efforts include assessing patients, placing them in isolation as necessary and treating them when medically appropriate.
“We treat patients every day with highly infectious diseases, including those with conditions much more serious than COVID-19, and have plans to handle the coronavirus,” said Dr. Amanda Novack, the system’s medical director of infection prevention.
The best way for someone to protect themselves and others from contracting COVID-19 is through habits commonly practiced for the common cold and flu, including:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Washing hands often with soap and warm water for 15 seconds
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Covering all coughs and sneezes
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at higher risk for significant complications with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the agency, those at higher risk for complications are advised to stock up on supplies, take precautions to keep space between themselves and others, avoid crowds, stay away from cruise or non-essential air travel and stay at home as much as possible.
If someone is believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 and develops mild symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath, they are urged to not visit a hospital or clinic. Rather, they should stay home and self-isolate.
Before traveling to a Baptist Health facility, those with symptoms should follow guidance from the CDC to keep the facility’s environment safe and healthy for everyone. That includes calling their provider to let them know the situation and giving advance notice before visiting any facility.
If symptoms worsen, such as difficulty breathing or an elevated temperature not responding to over-the-counter medication, the affected person should make plans to speak with or seek care from their primary care provider.
Baptist Health Virtual Care offers a stay-at-home solution to those in need of care. Visit a doctor online before going to an urgent care facility or emergency department. Online doctors within the app are prepared to screen for COVID-19 and make recommendations for next steps any time of day. To access the mobile screening option, look for “Baptist Health Virtual Care” in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.
Baptist Health Urgent Care centers in Benton, Bryant, Cabot, Jacksonville, Little Rock, North Little Rock and Fort Smith are additionally available.
If someone is experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms like persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or bluish lips of face, they should call 9-1-1 or go to their nearest emergency department.
Answers to general questions about COVID-19 are also available by visiting the Baptist Health website at baptist-health.com/coronavirus.
For more information about the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak, call the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-462-0599 or visit the agency’s website at healthy.arkansas.gov.