Local hospitals: There’s no reason to be scared to go to ER

County’s facilities taking extra measures to ease concerns over COVID-19

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FLEMING ISLAND – Hospitals in Clay County hospitals and emergency centers want residents to know that there is no reason to be scared of going to the hospital, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is because only about 2% or less of the patients in Clay County’s major hospitals like Baptist Clay Medical Campus, Baptist Oakleaf ER and Orange Park Medical Center have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Baptist Vice President of Ambulatory Campuses and System Emergency Services Darin Roark, OPMC CEO Lisa Valentine and Clay County Chamber President Wendell Chindra gathered at the chamber’s office Wednesday morning to urge the public about the dangers of avoiding medical care.

“There is a fear factor or misinformation going on in the community right now and I wanted to address that,” Chindra said. “I personally visited all of our hospitals in Clay County. One of the problems that we’re running into is we are hearing sad stories that our residents are not going to the emergency rooms and going from having a sickness to critical care because they’re delaying their hospital or medical care needs so today my plea or ask is simple: it is safe.”

Roark said Baptist facilities are doing a number of things to ensure patients and staff are safe. He said that temperature screenings and daily sanitizations are routine. He said the hospital is utilizing highly advanced robot sanitizers to help clean facilities clean and proper personal protective equipment is utilized at all times. Valentine said OPMC is following the same procedures.

Patients with the coronavirus are in a separate wing of the hospital. Features such as air flow control keep everything confined to those wings and separate from all other areas of the hospital, Valentine and Roark said of their respective hospitals. Staff that come into direct contact with the virus are sent home to isolation and aren’t able to return until after a set number of days and negative test readings. Roark said none of Baptist’s staff have contracted the virus although some have been sent home as a safety precaution.

Valentine said people that need hospital care should go to the hospital and that they shouldn’t fear the possibility of contracting the virus.

“Our hospitals have taken extreme measures to protect patients and staff,” Valentine said.

“Our hospitals are safe,” Roark said. “We want you to get the care that you need and the care you deserve and it’s very important to not delay care when you have signs of sickness, illness or injury because delaying care can do more harm than good.”

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