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Ballad Health officials urge continued caution with COVID-19

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Optimism does not equal complacency. 
 
Ballad Health officials explained this during their weekly media briefing on Wednesday. 
 
Jamie Swift, Chief Infection Prevention Officer, stressed that while numbers for our region are bringing about optimism, now is not the time to stop taking precautions. 
 
“We really need to keep our eyes and our focus on the pandemic,” said Swift. “We are seeing areas across the country that are starting to go back up.”
 
With unknowns as trends are continuing to be watched, Swift urged that following guidelines and staying focused is necessary. 
 
Masking remained an important focus, with both Swift and Dr. Clay Runnels, Chief Physician Executive, encouraging the public to continue wearing them, regardless of the status of mandates in place. 
 
Swift explained that preventing the spread of the virus involves following social distancing, masking and practicing proper hand hygiene. 
 
“All of these things together,” stressed Swift. “It’s not one, it’s really all three that we need to do to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
 
In addition to these aspects aiding in slowing the spread of the virus, Swift explained that it can also aid in making the upcoming flu season, which officially begins Oct. 1, much more mild.
 
Flu season lasts through spring and preventative measures, such as flu shots, are urged and can help prevent the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. 
 
Runnels showed the latest models of the virus trends and reiterated the importance of masking for those around you. 
 
Convalescent plasma, which is believed to be an effective treatment for those critically ill with the virus, is still being requested. Those who have tested positive and recovered from the virus are asked to donate. Blood donations are also being requested. 
 
Along with the latest information came addressing recommendations from the CDC. Swift explained that the virus is spread through droplets, and what is being said for social distancing has not changed. 
 
With the upcoming holiday season, Halloween steadily approaching, officials urged continuing to follow guidelines. 
 
“COVID-19 isn’t going away just for Halloween,” she warned. “But if you follow the guidelines, you can still have a fun holiday without cancelling Halloween.”
 
Concerns for those forgoing preventative care were also addressed, with Runnels stating to viewers at home the need to do so in efforts to identify dangerous diseases, such as cancer. 
 
For the latest updates on Ballad Health, go to www.balladhealth.org. Marsh Regional Blood Center can be reached at 423-203-5640.