URI nursing professor providing important information to COVID-19 patients, gathering data

12 on 12: Vaccine 101

KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A nursing professor at the University of Rhode Island is filling a key role in the fight against COVID-19.

Mary Cloud is working with the R.I. Department of Health to provide information to residents who have tested positive for the disease, as well as advise them on what to do next and trace any and all contacts that person has had with others. She also asks for demographic information and reviews the symptoms the patient has been experiencing.

Cloud has been a registered nurse for 46 years with a specialty in community health nursing.

“It’s important to understand what symptoms the person is experiencing now,” she explained. “And it’s important later when people are starting to really look back at what happened, what was the course, what could we do, when do we need to do it, to better understand how to cope in the future.”

Cloud reviews the patient’s medical history and notes any underlying conditions that could lead to a severe case of the virus, and then does the same for all of the patient’s close contacts. She says people’s contact lists have become noticeably shorter.

“I’m seeing this in the calls that I’m making because people are generally following the self-quarantine or the stay-at-home guidelines,” Cloud said.

Misinformation about the virus is still circulating, according to Cloud, which she said she’s had to dispute during some of her calls.

“These calls are a perfect opportunity to dispel any false information or any rumors that people might have, and give people information and reassurance,” Cloud added.

Along with other volunteers from RIDOH, Cloud is also serving as a counselor of sorts when speaking to people who feel emotional or isolated, reassuring them that they are not alone.

“This is someone from the Department of Health reaching out and saying, ‘We care about you, and we want to help you,'” she said. “I think that’s a very powerful message to give to every patient that we contact.”

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