One visitor per patient at Hendrick Health as community safety level becomes critical

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ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- As of Tuesday August 10th 2021. The Hendrick Covid-19 Community safety level was turned up to 5, Considered critical. And with that comes new precautions.

Once again only one visitor per patient excluding Pediatric and End of life situations.

“We hate to have to do that. Being in the hospital is a stressful time and you want your loved ones around you. But we have to protect our employees and the other patients that are not positive.” Says Hendrick VP and Chief Nursing Officer Susan Greenwood.

The dial has reached critical before. First in late 2020. Greenwood says we are in a much different place now since we actually have a way to stop the virus.

“The biggest thing we can do as a community is get vaccinated. Unlike the previous time we moved our safety dial up. There was really nothing we could do but shut down our economy, stay in our houses and mask if we went out. We don’t have to do that this time” Greenwood says.

And though the dial uptick signals what to expect inside the hospital. It’s also a warning of what could be if the virus continues.

“It’s a signal to the community that this uptick is continuing to increase and if we don’t change the course more and more people will become sick and potentially die from this illness.” Says Greenwood.

For some just the existence of the vaccine is enough for them to feel secure.

“Oh we got a shot and we don’t have to worry anymore. but the shot is no good unless you take the shot” Said Taylor County Judge Downing Bolls.

Local and County officials are unable to enact any mask or vaccine mandates that might mitigate the influx of positive cases. This due to Governor Abbott’s recent Executive order which strips local governments of those powers. An order Bolls says he has no intention of violating.

“I may not like some of the things that he orders. I may think ‘If this was me I would put something different in place but I don’t have that power. He has taken that away from me. I’m not angry at him because that’s the law and we are going to follow it.” Bolls Says.

Though this does not mean the public is powerless.

“Why do I have to give you an order to do the things that common sense should tell you to do anyway. Common sense tells you get the shot but a lot of people don’t and that’s a personal choice” Bolls remarked.

Even so, every choice has a consequence.

“If you don’t do it. you know what the consequences are you can see it in the numbers.” Says Bolls.

And though some have concerns of the vaccine side effects

“Pain in the injection site, Fatigue a little bit of fever. That of course is concerning to people.” Said Greenwood.

She warns that the alternative could be far worse.

“But the long term effects that we’re seeing from COVID should scare them more.” Says Greenwood.

The longer it takes to close the gap to Herd Immunity the more opportunities the virus will have to adapt.

“That’s the reason that COVID is not leaving us is it continues to mutate and evolve. It does that by passing through hosts. If everyone would get vaccinated it would simply hit a brick wall and have no chance but to die out.”

-Susan Greenwood, Hendrick health VP and Chief Nursing Officer

But if you don’t get the vaccine for the safety of yourself or your family. Overwhelmed hospital staff plead that you would do it to stop the influx of patients.

“Really their plea is for our community to react and get vaccinated. Take this seriously.” Greenwood says.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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