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Johns Hopkins doctor working with community to fill needs during COVID-19 spread

Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 14:29:58-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — As a Johns Hopkins Pulmonary Physician, Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos has prepared for it. A pandemic like COVID-19.

"We play out these situations constantly and now seeing it come to fruiting, I’m stuck in a moment of 'I can’t believe this is reality," said Galiatsatos.

He also understand that with even less preparation, the community needs support through challenges brought on by social isolation.

Through his organization Medicine for the Greater Good, he has put together huge conference calls, with up to 175 people on the line; all difference community leaders from faith-based organizations to schools to housing units to learn what's going on a try to provide resources.

"How do we get more food to Sandtown Winchester for instance? And one of our colleagues Mark Carter has organized that with Catholic Charities. What can we do for individuals who can’t leave their house to get food? We’ve been on the phone with Meals on Wheels to help with that," said Galiatsatos.

He has also heard over and over about the accessibility of COVID-19 testing being a big challenge.

"Most of the testing accessibility is cars so at that moment when we do these telemedicine screenings, if we realize we really can’t get someone to a testing site, we discuss with the community leaders how to really do proper isolation and assume they are infected," said Galiatsatos.

During a time when people are isolated and scared, mental health is also top of mind so a psychologist will take part in Friday's call to give advice about how to move through this time.

"Check in with people. That’s one of the things you can do to be able to provide a sense of community in a time where we can’t have a physical presence of it," said Galiatsatos.

E-mail if you would like to join the next call. A transcription of the call will also be available online.