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Vidant EastCare takes on new look to stop the spread of COVID-19

August 17, 2020 posted by Vidant Health News

COVID-19 continues to impact how health systems across the country and here at home address patient care during the pandemic. One team is embracing a new look to help stop the spread.

“I enjoy being outside, a lot,” said Paul Johnson, a transport RN with Vidant EastCare.

It's one the perks for Johnson.

“I am not found of heights, I don’t like flying but it was worth it,” Johnson said.

The Bertie County native is no stranger to doing what it takes to get the job done.

“It looks pretty ridiculous, the moustache does," Johnson said, "but that’s kind of what I’m going for, too. A little bit of fun.”

A little bit of fun – and a look that's a lot different these days.

“Full beard – I tried to keep it somewhat trimmed but maybe not much – it was pretty scraggly," Johnson said. "I enjoyed it. I quit shaving the day I got out of the Army and didn’t have to shave any more.”

That was 11 years ago – until COVID-19 and the need for all health care workers to wear a mask and other protective equipment.

“Saw the cases pick up in the state, certainly across the country and it was like, ‘Well, if I haven’t transported one of these patients it’s just going to be a matter of time,’” Johnson said.

So the beard had to go, to help ensure the proper fit of the masks necessary to help keep Paul, his colleagues and the patients they transport safe.

“The N-95 seals around the perimeter, the bridge of your nose and around here,” Johnson said.

Going facial hair free for ENC was easier said than done for communications specialist Jack Moye.

“You trim it, and you make sure it looks just right and you pet it – but yeah, it’s hard," Moye said. "When you’re looking in the mirror and you’re about to make that first cut, it’s very difficult to do.”

Luckily Paul and Jack are in good company. EMTs, pilots, paramedics, at least one person in every EastCare role has done the same. It's a show of solidarity and a commitment to one another and the patients Vidant serves.

“If we start getting sick, there’s not going to be anybody to bring these patients into the hospital," Johnson said. "If nurses in the hospital start getting sick, there’s not going to be anybody to take care of those patients – we need to at least stay healthy as long as we can.”

The team mentioned they appreciate all of the community support being shown to health care workers on the front lines. As they go facial hair free for ENC, they encourage everyone to do their part, by social distancing and staying home to stop the spread.

Vidant EastCare travels more than 900,000 miles a year – and handles more than 10,000 patient transports by air and ground combined. 

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