Medical Clinic Still Open To Care For Patients

by Eplunus Colvin

With the recent outbreak of positive COVID-19 cases across the state, local doctors say patients who come to the clinic are safer than ever due to the extreme measures and incredible lengths that hospital faculty and staff are going to keep everyone safe.

Dr. Kirk Coker of Stuttgart Baptist Medical Clinic, who said a “couple of dozen” COVID-19 tests were done in the last week, is concerned patients will put their health at risk because of the fear of being exposed. “We don’t want anybody’s health to fall by the wayside,” said Coker. “We are open for business as usual.”

Baptist Health Medical Clinic is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and appointments can be scheduled by calling the medical clinic at (870)673-7211. “The only time we are closed is during the noon hour,” said Coker. “It looks like nobody is there because the staff parks at the hospital.” Coker explains the clinic parking lot is designated for those who come through the drive-thru. “If they need to pull up and wait on test results without having to go in the clinic, there would be plenty of space to do that and stay apart from everyone else,” said Coker.

To keep the sick from the well, the parking lot is divided between sick and well patients similar to the clinic’s waiting room area. A new precautionary method in the waiting room will require patients to exit out the rear doors of the waiting room. Coker adds that special cleaning, specifically for the coronavirus, is done around the clock to all patient rooms. “We are cleaning the rooms in between each patient and we also give it a good terminal clean during the lunch hour and between the morning, afternoon clinics and at night,” said Coker.

Patients who visit the clinic who are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms, allergies, flu symptoms, cold and cough just to name a few, will be given a mask to wear. “Sick people in the clinic are put in a mask and kept separate from anyone that is well,” said Coker. “People are there for health maintenance issues, lab results, wellness exams and we want all those people to not miss a beat. We want them to still come as usual and feel comfortable.” For routine checkups, injections, wellness exams, lab results, follow-ups or any non-emergency visit, Coker says call and make an appointment to ensure visits are spread out throughout the day. Baptist Medical Clinics located in Brinkley, Clarendon, Dewitt, Hazen and England are also open during their normal business hours according to Coker. “Those locations don’t have a drive-thru but they are screening at the door,” said Coker.

Following the directives and the guidance of the CDC and ADH, Coker stresses the number one thing that everyone can do is social distancing and washing their hands. “Extreme measures are needed for extreme issues and we have to take the necessary precautions,” said Coker. “We (BHMC) want to thank everyone for doing their part in helping to flatten the curve. We still have a lot of work to do but we can get through this together.”