OHIO VALLEY — Holzer Health System recently offered a free webinar to local businesses, aiming to educate employers about COVID-19.
Leading the discussion panel were Holzer Chief Operation Officer Todd Fowler, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Michael Canady, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rod Stout and Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Detty.
Among topics covered were COVID-19 risks and understanding symptoms, getting an employee tested, how to prevent the spread, and local COVID-19 statistics. A question and answer segment followed with resources and links being provided after the presentation.
Fowler noted the webinar was set up to share where Holzer is in the the battle against COVID, and help employers around the area deal with the pandemic.
“We wanted to share with them our experiences and recommendations on how they might be able to do things better in their place of business for their employees, and depending on their business, their patrons and customers,” Fowler said. “We started this as an outreach to what we call our Business Advisory Council, and the BAC has historically been a group of employers who would be invited quarterly to meetings that were specific to occupational medicine and bureau of workers compensation issues.
“I realized about a month ago that group is a perfect forum for us to communicate during the pandemic, not from a solicitation for business at all, but as a community hospital. That platform gave us opportunity to share information that would help our community and businesses do a better job of keeping themselves safe.”
The Business Advisory Council received the initial emails about the presentation, but word soon spread to other local businesses.
“We would like to consider this an opportunity to do meetings virtually in the future, where we share appropriate information with Business Advisory Council members, chambers of commerce and so on,” Fowler said. “We may be looking to expand this, again not for solicitation purposes at all, but for education and really communication.”
Holzer has also been working with the local health departments, and will be meeting with schools to help the reopening process.
“We are going to do some things through the schools, we’ve been meeting with the superintendents on occasion, helping them with school based health care via telehealth,” Fowler said. “We are working with them the best we can to help prepare the schools for reopening.
“We have been very engaged with the county health departments…this (the pandemic) is a public health issue. We are also working with some of the other health care entities such as, Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living.”
Fowler noted the the importance of Holzer getting facts out to the community in this global health crisis.
“We are in the trenches, we see this everyday, and then we go home and see what’s being reported on the news,” Fowler said. “We look at it and shake our heads sometimes and say what in the world are they saying. So, we’re trying to help our communities understand where we are in our region of the state.
“One thing that I can’t emphasize enough is our website. We have a page dedicated to COVID-19, and in that we have direct links to the Ohio Department of Health, the CDC and others. We have just established an email address for employers, where they can email questions and concerns to us.”
Among messages Holzer passed along in the webinar include taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others, wearing a mask in public, washing your hands regularly and keeping social distance.
Another area discussed was asymptomatic testing.
“From a clinical standpoint, asymptomatic testing, or testing of individuals who have no symptoms present, is not a good way to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Fowler said. “It potentially makes it worse, because an asymptomatic test is only testing the viral growth at the point of time of the test.
“The time to test is early on when you truly see symptoms,” he said. “Contact your provider, with a provider order we will test everyone.”
Folwer added Holzer has done about 6,000 nasopharyngeal tests, which he called “the most accurate tests,” and those tests were done “in-house.”
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.