Local medical society working to provide COVID-19 support

Posted at 7:23 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 23:40:17-04

A local COVID-19 task force was formed to stay ahead of the curve, when it comes to fighting the virus in our community.

The Nueces County Medical Society, which is the largest group of physicians in Nueces county, helped create the task force. It’s made up of more than a dozen local doctors, physicians and healthcare professionals.

Their goal is to secure enough personal protective equipment for local hospitals and doctors offices, and set up telemedicine and other services for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. The group meets several times a week and makes recommendations to city and county leaders, like having one COVID-19 testing site, instead of multiple.

“All of the private offices that do testing are trying to make sure they have their own place set up to do testing, and with their own N-95 masks,” said Dr. Michael McCutchon, an anesthesiologist at Gulf Shore Anesthesia Associates. “Instead of doing that, if we could centralize testing in one location, it'll decrease the amount of PPE (personal protective equipment) that we’re using.”

Currently, the City-County Health Department uses the old Spohn Memorial Hospital as its site.

"It'll also help with data collection, in terms of getting everybody to report so we have good data of where the cases are,” said McCutchon.

There are several private physicians who test patients for the virus, too

The task force also provides information and advice for residents to help ensure their safety. With the Easter holiday weekend about to kick off, they mentioned that, while many are used to being around their loved ones during the holiday, it’s important this year to just stay home.

“It's good to remember though, a lot of the large outbreaks have come out of large gatherings,” said McCutchon. “So, we need to be careful."

Dr. Marita Rafael, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Driscoll Children’s Hospital said, people should think about celebrating the holiday with drive-thru celebrations or online, because all county and city parks and beaches are closed.

"At this time, we get to be creative in how we celebrate,” said Rafael, who is also president of the Nueces County Medical Society.

KRIS 6 News spoke to several people at Water’s Edge Park on Thursday afternoon, who are listening to the task force’s recommendations.

“I typically go to mass, but since that's not available, I have to find other ways and that's online,” said Danny Kollaja.

“I’ll probably get some takeout at one point, cook at home, eat some sort of Easter dinner maybe, and that's about it,” said Ryan Boyd.