I’m not sure if it’s just me, or if everyone wakes up some days and ask themselves, “am I dreaming or is this pandemic predicament really happening right now?”


Yes, our lives and related habits have taken an abrupt turn in recent months; our work styles have changed dramatically – and even some of our fellow citizens are no longer working; and the things we hold near and dear to us – our faith, family and friends – is shining under a different light.

I, in conjunction with my fellow partners of Abilene Bone & Joint Clinic and our dedicated staff, want to provide you a “state of interruption’ update.  Similar to how our elected officials deliver a ‘state of city/state/union’ at the beginning of a new year, I felt it was important to share with you some key points related to the coronavirus and the role Abilene Bone & Joint is playing in an effort to curb any misinformation or dispel some myths.

Many of us hear frequently how Abilene and the Big Country is almost like an island – we’re two and a half hours from another city.   This has worked in our favor, our distance of our region from other larger, more populated areas.  It’s almost as if we have been ‘social distancing’ for years geographically, and now we realize how fortunate that is.

In our part of the world, the ‘curve’ has been pretty flat and stable; especially compared to other markets like Amarillo and El Paso.  Amarillo’s beef packing industry has taken a toll with more COVID-19 positive test results, and that area has seen some dramatic spikes.

However, what’s also true and we need to be mindful of is there is more testing being conducted everywhere than there was even weeks ago, so the spikes are often related to the amped up number of tests being completed.  It’s imperative when you review data, you assure you are comparing apples to apples.

  • I applaud Governor Greg Abbott and his plan with loosening the restrictions on our great state of Texas. And, it is my belief where we are headed is suitable, and not too fast.

If as a State or a community we didn’t begin reopening, the deaths from starvation due to economic crisis, coupled with medical needs and procedures (cancer, etc.) that have been put on-hold too long plus mental health could be detrimental to our society.

  • My hat is off to Governor Abbott and his earlier protocols regarding self-quarantine for in-bound travelers. I feel this played a strong favorable role in minimizing our positive test results.
  • I also feel our local and state elected officials have been proactive; and as a team, Abilene Bone & Joint will continue to help their respective roles in this current crisis if and when we are called upon.

Hendrick Medical Center has also done a robust job; though I’m not on staff at Abilene Regional Medical Center, there’s no doubt our area would not have seen the progress of flattening the curve and minimal impact as we have experienced without both medical centers’ expertise on meeting the needs and demands of our vital community during these uncharted times.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a heartfelt appreciation for the medical team and ancillary staff here at Abilene Bone & Joint.  Their resiliency and tenacity are remarkable.

Unfortunately, nobody can turn off gravity during a pandemic.  People still fall, automobile accidents still happen, and physical misfortunes continue.  However, it is the fortitude and positive outlook a geographical region has that can make all the difference.  I am humbled by you, our patients, for your support and confidence in the Abilene Bone & Joint team.


Shannon Cooke, MD