CHILLICOTHE – Adena Health System Chief Clinical Officer (CCO) Kirk Tucker, MD has been on the frontlines of the system’s coronavirus efforts from Day One, helping to safely build and sustain a COVID-19 care delivery model across south central and southern Ohio. Four months after the region’s first cases, the numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 is trending up both nationally and locally, and Dr. Tucker advises everyone to keep working to protect themselves and others in our communities.
“This has been a very long haul,” Tucker said. “It is understandable that people are wearing down from the stress, fatigue and challenges this pandemic has caused in our daily lives. If there is anything I can stress to my patients and people in our communities, it is ‘don’t stop now.’ We need to continue to safely protect ourselves and those around us just as hard, and with the same commitment that we did four months ago.”
With a close eye on federal, state and local health data, Tucker believes the current increase in positives cases may be the last. Following a 60-day course of events, trends on positive cases should begin to decline.
“My hope is based on evidence we are watching that indicates by fall we could be on the tail end of this curve; and Coronavirus will become more of a thing in our past than our present,” he added. “That is why it is so important for us to stay focused in our efforts to wear a face mask, wash our hands and follow proper social distancing guidelines. I understand we all want to return to what our lives looked like before this pandemic. But we can’t be in a rush to return where it sets us back in the progress we have made.”
Tucker, an Internal Medicine physician, is encouraged that patients across the region have been returning to seek care at Adena’s hospitals, health centers, and clinics, while helping to limit the spread of the virus.
“Adena has been extremely safe and thoughtful in its reopening of services; and from the beginning has put the health and well-being of our patients, visitors and staff as the top priority with enhanced safety and cleaning measures,” he said. “Adena has also made testing for COVID-19 more accessible for patients in the region with availability at all Urgent Care locations and a number of walk-in clinics. For us to remain on top of this health crisis, we encourage anyone who believes they have symptoms, or have been exposed to a person confirmed to have COVID-19 to call the COVID-19 Screening Hotline at 740-542-SAFE (7233).”
“Having practiced at Adena for 17 years, one thing I know about this community is we pull together, support one another and overcome any obstacle,” said Tucker. “That is what we need to do now – it is what we have seen to this point and what will get us to the finish.”
Join us for the next edition of Living Well with Adena, where our infection prevention experts will break down the rhetoric around the effectiveness of masks and other face coverings, by offering science-based facts on the topic. They will also provide an update on COVID-19’s resurgence in our communities, and discuss how to protect ourselves and others, as we battle this pandemic together. Participate in the discussion by tuning in on Thursday, July 16 at noon on Adena’s Facebook Live and YouTube Live feeds. For more information or to access any previous Living Well with Adena, visit adena.org/livingwell.