JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Medical experts from across Region 8 gathered at Jonesboro’s Council Chambers Wednesday afternoon.
Experts discussed hospital safety and regular check-ups.
Dr. Shane Speights, Dean of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State, led the discussion.
Doctors on the panels have said they have seen people who have chronic illnesses, such as heart disease or diabetes but are hesitant to go to a clinic, making the situation more complicated.
For those who are concerned, Dr. Speights encourages everyone that facilities are doing their part to stay safe, including screenings, temperature checks, and regular cleanings of the facilities.
Dr. Speights adds that COVID-19 shouldn’t deter anyone from getting the medical attention they need and that self-care is especially important during this time.
“We’re still a ways off from a vaccine, so the best chance that you have to fight this virus off is to be in the best shape from a healthcare standpoint," Dr. Speights said. "And that’s the conversation you have with your physician.”
Another point of emphasis in the press conference was the use of vaccinations.
Dr. Speights said vaccination rates among children had dropped 30 percent in Arkansas compared to this time last year.
Dr. Tasha Starks at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center says that vaccinations are both crucial and safe.
“Vaccines are safe for our children as well as adults,” Dr. Starks said. “We’re taking extra precautions to make sure that our facilities are clean and sanitized and safe so that you can come into our hospitals and clinics and receive the health care that you need.”
Dr. Speights also points out that even though restrictions are being lifted, the virus still poses a threat and that it’s important for everyone to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health.
If you missed the briefing hosted by Dr. Speights, you can watch it below.