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Avery County Doctor Charlie Baker Creates Video PSA to Encourage More People to Wear Masks in the High Country


CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO: Dr. Charlie Baker video

By Nathan Ham

Anyone that has ever spent a lot of time in Avery County probably knows who Dr. Charlie Baker is. He spent four decades in the county serving as a family doctor in a community that is now suddenly dealing with a large increase in COVID-19 cases.

“As of three weeks ago, we only had about 20 COVID cases in Avery County. Now it’s over 60 this week and some people are really sick,” said Dr. Baker. “We saw this coming, I predicted it back in the spring that we would have a delay in Avery County until the summer population started to grow.”

While Dr. Baker may have retired from his private practice, he is still active in the healthcare community as a board member of Appalachian Regional Healthcare Systems and a part-time faculty member teaching and training resident doctors in Boone. He was approached by ARHS about recording a video message on the importance of wearing face coverings and the 3 w’s.

“We asked Dr. baker to do a public service announcement for us. Dr. Baker is well-respected and much-loved and has spent 40 years in the community. He could have gone somewhere else but elected to stay in Avery County and stay with this community,” said Rod Hudspeth, Sr. Vice President for System Advancement at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “The reason we did the video is that there are still people talking about the effectiveness of mask-wearing and the 3 w’s and what do they really do. I thought he delivered it incredibly well.”

Dr. Baker was more than willing to record this video in hopes of reaching more folks in the High Country to explain the importance of wearing masks.

“In Avery County, a couple of the providers have been disappointed with the number of people that were blowing off COVID-19 and the need to protect each other, so they wanted someone that had community recognition to talk about that,” said Dr. Baker. “The point of the video is protecting yourself helps protect the others around you. Your next-door neighbor might be taking care of elderly parents and his neighbor might be taking care of a child that is immune-deficient. It’s just what you do, people in the High Country are compassionate and caring and would do anything to help a neighbor.”

Dr. Baker said he wasn’t sure who he would be reaching, but was hoping he would reach the people that needed to see the video the most. The video was recorded last Wednesday and uploaded last Friday and had 800 views.

“I started getting calls from relatives I hadn’t heard from in years. The video got reposted a lot. At one point it had 26,000 views,” Dr. Baker said. “I’ve reached some people here, more than I was anticipating. I just hope we reached the right ones. People needed to know that this is not a political virus, it is there for everybody. Nobody has seen this virus before so we’ve had to learn the hard way of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s clear now that masks are beneficial.”

The video has been posted on the Cannon Memorial Hospital Facebook page, as well as the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Facebook page.

A direct link to the video can be found below. 

Dr. Charlie Baker video