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Barrhead’s medical director asks public to join battle against COVID-19

Dr. Kent Bernes concerned that people are not adhering to restrictions and guidelines put in place by public health officials
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Barrhead medical director Dr. Kent Bernes said the only way to defeat COVID-19 is to follow the protocols and restrictions put in place by public health officials.

BARRHEAD - Dr. Kent Bernes does not want to have to make decisions between patients who both need a ventilator to survive like physicians are having to do in other parts of the world.

That is why he decided to write a letter and post it on Facebook pleading with residents to adhere to the directives set out by public health officials to combat COVID-19.

Dr. Bernes is a physician at Barrhead Clinic and also serves as the community’s medical director. On March 27, he posted a letter on his clinic’s Facebook Page that has been circulated on several other social media sites.

In his post, he asked residents to enlist in the army to battle the virus by staying at home whenever possible, self-isolating when ill, practising social (physical distancing), frequent handwashing, et cetera, as well as other directives put out by public health officials.

“I don’t want to see people get sick like that when it is completely preventable,” he said.

In his post, Dr. Bernes explained that COVID-19 is an “RNA virus that requires human tissue to replicate and then spread.”

It is unable to do it on its own. It is easy to defeat if we stay clear of it and not let it dine on human tissue,” he wrote.

Unfortunately, despite the well-publicized efforts to safeguard the community and stem the advance, he still sees people who disregard these simple steps.

“I have lived and been part of this community for close to 30 years and I am concerned for its well-being, especially when I go to work and see truckloads of teenagers hanging out together,” he said.

Dr. Bernes added although the teenagers may feel that they don’t have anything to fear they could potentially spread it to other friends and family members.

He added while youth seem to be able to recover more readily than the more vulnerable members of the population, they are not immune.

Barry Kerton,

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And to be fair, Bernes said teens are not the only ones he has seen breaking the safeguards to stem COVID-19s advancement.

“If you look at what’s going on in the world, Spain, Italy and even the U.S., it’s mayhem,” he said. “We don’t want to be intubating people, putting them on ventilators — the success of coming off a ventilator is quite poor. Right now we are doing OK with it but if it continues to grow, we could be in serious trouble as a country.”

The Barrhead Clinic is also trying to do its part, in not only protecting its staff but its patients, by limiting contact by doing what they can remotely, either by telephone or videoconferencing.

Dr. Bernes added while people need to be mindful and follow the restrictions and guidelines put in place, it’s also important not to panic.

“Panic doesn’t help,” he said. “But we want people to be methodical about what they are doing especially when they are out in public so they don’t bring it home.”

Dr. Bernes added if people heed the guidelines the quicker we can return to a new state of normal, but if they don’t, the restrictions will get more onerous and could go on continuously.

In a few months, if the cases do start to decline, he said people should be prepared for a potential second wave.

“Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of science on that right now,” he said, adding there is a lot of speculation. “With regular influenza, we know there is a seasonal variation, but with this, it is really an unknown - we will have to see how things play out - what we really want and need to do is stop this spread of the virus at this point and time.”

To read his full letter go to Barrhead Clinic’s Facebook page.

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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