Freeman doctor educates residents on COVID-19 and the lessons learned

JOPLIN, Mo. – From how the coronavirus spreads and the symptoms that come with it, to the long term impacts and the knowledge that’s brought about the evolution of treatments.

“This past 18 months has been all about this grand experiment of trying to find out what are effective treatments, and what is a waste of time.” says Dr. Rob McNab, a physician at Freeman Health System who was the director of the hospital’s COVID unit.

Healthcare professionals like Dr. McNab have learned a lot about the virus over the last 18 months. And Tuesday, he’s passing that information on to residents who participate in Freeman Advantage, a wellness program for residents 50 and older, like Marjorie Ellis.

“I have known some (people) that have passed away, and so you know that makes you very conscientious I guess you could say about the disease,” says Ellis.

“We all recognize that this is a very infectious disease. The new Delta variant is multiple times more infectious than the original. If you’re an elderly person and, or, if you have significant health problems, you’re at the very highest risk to have a really severe infection. And that, obviously, can be life threatening,” says McNab. “So in talking to the advantage group, if any of them have vaccine hesitancy we can talk about that and address it.”

Even with slews of information being available online and otherwise, McNab says it’s still important to talk about even the basics.

“Some of it’s accurate, and some of it’s inaccurate,” says McNab. “And I think that the most important thing for me is to talk to people that are.. who I would describe as vaccine hesitant. They’re not against vaccinations, but they’re cautious. And rightly so. How can you make good decisions with poor information?”

He hopes that the accurate information he gets to the group will spread as they have conversations with friends and family. Something that’s especially important as vaccinations slow, hospitalizations increase, and the delta variant of the virus spreads in the four-states.

“That’s the best way, word of mouth, to be able to get good information out to the community. Because if you are at high risk, and you’re hesitant to get that vaccine, you’re the person that I really want to find and talk to,” says McNab.

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