Medical professionals answer questions from Lake Travis-area residents in virtual address

Dr. Ghassan Salman answers questions during a July 16 virtual address to Lakeway and Lake Travis residents. (Screenshot courtesy city of Lakeway)
Dr. Ghassan Salman answers questions during a July 16 virtual address to Lakeway and Lake Travis residents. (Screenshot courtesy city of Lakeway)

Dr. Ghassan Salman answers questions during a July 16 virtual address to Lakeway and Lake Travis residents. (Screenshot courtesy city of Lakeway)

In a departure from her normal weekly address to the community, Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox ceded most of her time to local medical professionals so they could answer questions from citizens online.

Delivering her talk from City Hall on Facebook Live on July 16, Cox began by reminding parents that all school children will begin the 2020-21 school year with remote learning due to the fact that coronavirus numbers have gone up.

Cox also said the city will receive a $45,000 FEMA grant to help with COVID-19-related expenses and told residents that right now, there are about 140 active cases in the Lake Travis area.

"It's probably the highest count load that we've had since we've started this, but ... we are testing more," Cox said.

The main part of the address was earmarked for Baylor Scott & White Health professionals, including President Philippe Bochaton, who addressed the community during the virtual event.

Bochaton said the staff at BSW is continuing to work on research, workforce issues and maintaining adequate supplies.

"Lots of work has been done, and I am incredibly proud of this team," he said, adding that the hospital is bringing nine additional beds on the second floor, among other initiatives.

Safety is the top priority for the hospital, Bochaton said. For example, all surgery patients go through a safe testing and screening process, and mutual care options and touch-free protocols are in place at the facility. Masking is also required at all times in the hospital, and enhanced cleaning processes continue, he said.

"In short, the vast majority of our patients are not seen for COVID-19 at our hospital," he said. "And less than 1% of employees who have seen patients test positive for COVID-19."

Following Bochaton's brief address, Dr. Ghassan Salman and Dr. Matthew Crowe took questions from residents, including one about how many beds are available at BSW Lakeway for COVID-19. According to Bochaton, that figure varies based on case rates.

"For the time being, we have 10," he said. "It varies depending on the number of admissions we have."

With regard to COVID-19 test results, patients can see answers anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, according to Salman.

Dr. Crowe said several medications are being used to help COVID-19 patients, including remdesivir, in certain cases, as well as the steroid dexamethasone.

Several questions went unanswered, including those about numbers on hospital capacity and where the data came from that informed recent decisions to close on-site learning for local schools; Cox said that is not information that can be shared at this time.

To view the entire July 16 address, which included dozens of questions on a range of COVID-19 related concerns from Lake Travis-area residents, click here.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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