This event took place on September 22, 2020 at 1-2pm EST via GoToWebinar
The COVID-19 crisis has created unexpected challenges for North Carolinians, from worrying about loved ones in nursing homes and children returning to schools to considering whether it is safe to see a healthcare provider for preventive screenings.
To answer questions like these and open a line of direct dialogue with residents, hospital leaders and the North Carolina Healthcare Association are hosting a series of virtual town halls across the state.
Healthcare leaders in the Triad recently came together – virtually – to discuss with more than 200 viewers what they’re seeing in their hospitals, what they’ve learned from the crisis and what patients need to know about staying safe.
Panelists included Jeff Lindsay, Novant Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Julie Freischlag, Wake Forest Baptist Health CEO and Dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine, Dr. Kevin High, Wake Forest Baptist Health President, Terry Akin, Cone Health CEO, and Chris Lumsden, president and CEO of Northern Regional Hospital.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation – and join us for our next Virtual Town Hall on October 27 featuring health leaders in the Triangle.
Getting a flu shot has never been more important
Healthcare facilities are prepared for the upcoming flu season, but the public can play an important role in reducing the overlapping impact of COVID-19 and the flu.
“Get your flu shot and encourage everyone in your circle to do the same,” said Dr. High. “It will be more important than ever this year.”
Communities can also help reduce the spread of both viruses by continuing to follow best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands regularly.
Patients should not delay their care
In North Carolina and nationwide, many health leaders are starting to raise the alarm about a “triple pandemic.”
This refers not just to COVID-19, but also to the resulting mental health effects, as well as higher rates of serious and chronic disease as patients delay care that they need, such as cancer screenings, primary care, and chronic disease management.
Cancer, diabetes, and heart disease do not take a pause during COVID-19, the panelists emphasized, and all of the area health systems have put protocols in place to ensure patients can receive the care they need safely.
Health inequities put communities of color at higher risk for COVID-19, and hospitals are working hard to offset these disparities
COVID-19 has more severely hit communities of color. Data shows that Black Americans, as well as other minority populations, are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and also face higher mortality rates.
Health leaders shared that many communities of color experience higher rates of pre-existing conditions, often driven by social factors such as poverty, housing and food access. Pre-existing conditions put patients at higher risks for serious complications due to COVID-19. Many people of color are also employed in job roles as ‘essential workers,’ and are at higher risk of contracting the virus through their jobs and may be more likely to spread the virus to others in the home.
Each of the healthcare organizations are committed to making sure that resources, testing and treatment are available in the communities that need them most.
Health leaders agree – the pandemic isn’t over yet, but together, hospitals, health systems and the patients they serve can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and improve public health.
Are you a resident of the Triangle area? Join us for our next Virtual Town Hall on October 27.
These sessions are designed to give the public an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, and share stories with key healthcare decision-makers. The Triangle Town Hall will feature: