Freeman Health System focuses on underlying conditions on daily press conference

Joplin Area Coronavirus

JOPLIN, Mo. — In Tuesday’s Freeman Health System press conference, President and CEO Paula Baker stated that there are currently no new positive cases and that screening calls continue to decline.

The focus then turned to underlying conditions and who might be more at risk for the coronavirus.

Cardiologist Dr. Ryan Longnecker mentioned conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and other cardiovascular issues that pose as the most significant gateways to coronavirus infections.

He reminded patients to be mindful of the medications they are taking like ibuprofen, which acts as a good inflammatory, but when it comes to a virus like covid-19 it can raise blood pressure and prove to be problematic.

Dr. Longnecker recognizes that some underlying conditions hit close to home.

Dr. Ryan Longnecker, Freeman Health System Cardiologist, said, “Unfortunately, years ago, Joplin had the distinction of being the unhealthiest city in Missouri, and part of that was because of our high proportion of patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and even being uninsured. So I think a lot of those things definitely impact close to home for all of us and things that we should focus on. You know, we look at the average smoking rate for example, we were over twenty percent when that came out. Our national average is much less than twenty percent, and that’s something for us to focus on because we know that smoking leads to copd, and copd is another co-morbidity that increases risk for covid infections.”

Dr. Longnecker also stressed the significance of age and how older individuals are more susceptible to the coronavirus and to continue to practice what we’re asked to do with social distancing.

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