St. Bernards Cancels 2020 ‘Health & Fitness Expo’ to Preserve Community Health

By: casey.worlow ,

St. Bernards Cancels 2020 ‘Health & Fitness Expo’ to Preserve Community Health

JONESBORO (March 13, 2020) St. Bernards Medical Group announced its decision Friday to cancel the annual 2020 “Health & Fitness Expo” scheduled for April 18-19 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Northeast Arkansas.

The cancellation notice follows news of increased COVID-19 cases in Arkansas and across the United States.

Health & Fitness Expo Physician Chair Dr. Devi Nair said the event’s steering committee unanimously concluded proactive social distancing measures, including event cancellations, provide the best tools to fight COVID-19 spread.

“As we hear about more COVID-19 cases at home and abroad,” Dr. Nair said, “our committee collectively agreed cancelling this year’s Health & Fitness Expo will help with ‘flattening the curve’ surrounding the disease’s spread.”

The term “flattening the curve” refers to a bell-shaped curve where the number of sick people stay below a linear threshold of patients that hospitals can treat. If measures are not taken to prevent a disease’s spread, the disease quickly surpasses the threshold. Consequently, the number of sick individuals may exceed a healthcare provider’s capacity of care. If, however, prevention measures are taken, the disease stays below the threshold. Healthcare providers, in turn, can properly care for all sick individuals.

St. Bernards Medical Group President Dr. Matt Garner said the committee did not make the decision lightly.

“The Health & Fitness Expo is the largest public event we hold at St. Bernards,” Dr. Garner said. “We decided across the board, however, that modeling good citizenship and Christ-like healing—our core mission—always takes precedence.”

Last year alone, the Health & Fitness Expo had more than 12,000 attendees with 900 participating volunteers. These volunteers, in conjunction with more than 100 physicians, conducted more than 4,300 free health screenings as well as 1,300 student-athlete physicals; 900 of which had an accompanying EKG.                                                                                                 

Dr. Nair noted that while this year’s expo is cancelled, the committee has plans to offer some of these free services later this year.

“We understand that many folks count on our free services offered at the Health & Fitness Expo,” Dr. Nair said. “In fact, many lives have been saved as a result of the Expo, and we are committed to continual healthcare service in Northeast Arkansas.”

In addition to this year’s Health & Fitness Expo, St. Bernards Medical Group also announced the cancellation of the 2020 Doc Rock & Run Half Marathon, 5k, and Kids Rock & Run. The three events, part of the “Get in Gear” series, operate in conjunction with the Health & Fitness Expo and were scheduled for the morning of Saturday, April 18. St. Bernards Medical Group officials said they have no plans to reschedule the three races at a later date.

As background, the St. Bernards Medical Group team consists of more than 260 physicians and mid-level providers representing more than 40 specialties and 70 clinics across 12 Northeast Arkansas counties. The late Dr. Willie Young founded the group in 2000 along with seven other physicians to pool resources for better care across the region.

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St. Bernards Healthcare, a non-profit healthcare system based in Northeast Arkansas, serves as the corporate parent of a number of healthcare entities, including the largest hospital in the region, St. Bernards Medical Center, a 438-bed acute care hospital that serves as a regional referral center for 23 counties in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. It is the only Level III Trauma Center in the region, houses the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the eastern part of Arkansas and has served as the trusted provider of comprehensive, compassionate healthcare services for nearly 120 years. For more information, please visit stbernards.info or call the St. Bernards Healthline at 870.207.7300.