Efforts to bring together local professionals and businesses to share their expertise and best practices with the community in limiting the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in the creation of a new website and the launching of a YouTube channel.
A local group of professionals and business people have launched a website, “COVID-Free Greene,” which offers best practices and tips for individuals for going into the public and for businesses wanting to protect employees and customers from the virus.
One of those group members, Dr. Theo Hensley, has also launched a new YouTube channel, “The Dr. Theo Show,” that will feature videos initially about COVID-19 and then expand to address other health issues.
Hensley, who is a physician with Greeneville Internal Medicine and Family Practice, has already produced two videos interviewing a doctor and nurse who are on the front lines of treating the pandemic in hotspots in other parts of the country.
While creating videos is not new for Hensley, who has posted videos about the pandemic as well as other health topics on his “Dr. Theo Hensley” Facebook page, the new channel is an effort to take those to a higher level.
“The COVID-19 pandemic seemed like a good time to try it and try to provide high quality, trustworthy information from local voices,” he said. “We wanted to give the community the option of hearing from respected local professionals.”
The goal for both efforts is to provide unbiased, quality information locally to assist residents and businesses in Greene County, and to allow people to share their expertise to help others, Hensley said.
“We want to hopefully become a trusted source of reliable information,” he continued. “This has brought together people from all walks of life to share their life skills and expertise and apply those for the betterment of the community. This seems a great way to that.”
The website has been developed through the combined efforts of a group of local professionals that includes a dentist, pharmacist, veterinarian, health care professionals and retail and other business professionals. The group is chaired by local dentist Dr. Jon Rogers.
That group began discussing best practices in response to the pandemic with the goal of having members share them with others in their professions and businesses locally. The tips are designed to help keep the number of cases in Greene County as low as possible. Greene County had 47 confirmed cases Friday, an increase of one from Thursday, according to the daily report from the Tennessee Department of Health. The newest case is the only active case listed in the county. Two people in Greene County have died from the virus, according to the state agency.
After compiling a list of best practices from their experiences and expertise for individuals going into public places and businesses to implement to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the idea developed to create a website where the tips could be shared as well as other information related to the pandemic.
One member of the group, Garren Parkins, used his design expertise in creating the website, which can be found at covidfreegreene.com.
Sections of the website provide basic tips for people as they go out into public with specific tips offered for visiting a doctor’s office, a pharmacy and a restaurant for drive-thru or pick-up service.
Recommendations are also provided for businesses in protecting employees and customers and preventing cross contamination of materials.
A blog section of the website will hopefully address specific issues surrounding the pandemic and allow more members of the community an opportunity to participate, Hensley said.
The group welcomes participation from others within the community who have expertise to share. For example, he said, addressing specific issues may be a good project for public health students at either Walters State Community College or Tusculum University to take on.
The first blog entry on the website concerns animals and COVID-19, looking at whether animals can catch the virus from people, the possibility of pet spread of the illness, what happens to animals that may contract the coronavirus and tips for animal care during the pandemic.
‘DR. THEO SHOW’
Similar questions about animals and best practices will also be the topic of a future video of the “Dr. Theo Show” on YouTube.
There are two videos already uploaded to the new channel. In one, Hensley interviews Dr. Ken Nickle, who is a physician in the Tusculum Family Physician Group in Greeneville, about his experiences in treating people with the coronavirus. Nickle serves in the U.S. Army Reserve and is currently assigned to a facility in East Connecticut to treat COVID-19 patients, one of the hotspots near New York City.
Another features an interview with Joshua Lippincott, a registered nurse who is working in an intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients in New York City.
On his Facebook page, Hensley began doing informational videos a few years ago about various health topics such allergies. When the pandemic began, he started doing videos related to COVID-19, including videos answering questions from his patients or those submitted through the Facebook page.
The new YouTube channel is an effort to take the videos to a new level, providing another format to allow professionals to share their experiences and expertise with the community, Hensley said.
The physician is working to line up others to interview or feature in the videos to address a variety of facets of the coronavirus pandemic, he said, and then other health issues in the future as the community moves beyond the virus.
Through the video platform, different perspectives on the virus can be presented by a variety of individuals, providing a wide spectrum of information about COVID-19, not just one voice, Hensley said.
As a new virus, the medical community and scientists are learning more about the illness, and updates about new developments regarding treatment can be provided through the videos or any recommended changes in precautionary measures to limit the spread, he said.
Providing people information about the virus is important as it can help strengthen the message about taking measures to limit its spread and reduce the number of cases and deaths, Hensley said.
The videos can also be used to spotlight businesses that are following best practices through having representatives of those businesses describe what they are doing and their experiences during the virus, he said.
One of those will be on an area where people have many questions, animals and illness, and will feature local veterinarian Dr. Al Claiborne, Hensley said.
Hensley said he hopes to produce about a video a week for the channel, which will depend on his work schedule and family responsibilities.