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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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MOST RECENT UPDATES:

REVISED HOURS FOR WASHINGTON REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SCREENING CLINIC
April 3, 2020 - Washington Regional has revised the hours of its screening clinic effective tomorrow, April 4:

  • Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic
    3318 N. North Hills Boulevard
    Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
REVISED HOURS FOR WASHINGTON REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC AND HOTLINE
March 24, 2020 - Washington Regional has revised the hours of its screening clinic and hotline, effective today:
  • Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic
    3318 N. North Hills Boulevard
    New hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Hotline
    479.463.2055
    New hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Both the clinic and hotline will remain open seven days a week.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL ANNOUNCES DEDICATED RESPIRATORY ILLNESS CLINIC
March 24, 2020 - Effective immediately, Washington Regional will dedicate its Urgent Care location in the William L. Bradley Medical Plaza at 3 E. Appleby Road in Fayetteville to the treatment of individuals who have respiratory illness, but who DO NOT meet the testing criteria at the Coronavirus Screening Clinic. Upon arrival at the Bradley Medical Plaza, individuals should follow signs to the Urgent Care Respiratory Illness Clinic, which will have a dedicated entrance. Individuals with other urgent care needs not related to respiratory illness should call their primary care physician, or visit one of Washington Regional’s other Urgent Care locations in Bentonville, Springdale, Rogers, or Harrison.

Due to limited testing availability, the Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic at 3318 N. North Hills is following Arkansas Department of Health criteria for testing and will only test individuals who are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus (fever, cough and shortness of breath) AND meet the following criteria:
  • Are age 65 or older OR
  • Have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, or immunodeficiency OR
  • Have had contact with someone who has had a positive Coronavirus test OR
  • Are a healthcare worker
WASHINGTON REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER IMPLEMENTS FURTHER CHANGES TO VISITOR POLICY
March 23, 2020 - Washington Regional Medical Center is continuously monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) across our nation, state and community. As the number of confirmed and presumptive cases continues to grow in Northwest Arkansas, it is necessary to make additional changes to the hospital’s visitor policy in order to safeguard our patients, workforce and community, and slow the further spread of Coronavirus. The following visitor policy changes are effective immediately at Washington Regional Medical Center:

Visitors are not permitted unless the patient is in one of the categories listed below. Patients in those categories will only be permitted one (1) visitor who must be at least 18 years of age or older and pass a Coronavirus screening. Patients who may receive a visitor are:
  • Patients receiving end-of-life care (e.g., terminally ill patients)
  • Obstetric patients (one adult support person)
  • Minors
  • Neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) patients
  • Patients undergoing an urgent or emergent surgical procedure
  • Emergency Department patients who are in critical condition
  • Individuals who use a wheelchair or who have special needs
The visitor policies are subject to change as developments concerning Coronavirus necessitate.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL TO RESCHEDULE NON-URGENT SURGERIES, PROCEDURES AND DIAGNOSTIC TESTING
March 20, 2020 - Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville is rescheduling non-urgent surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests, effective March 21. This measure is an effort to reduce non-urgent patient visits in the region and decrease community exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) while also preserving resources, supplies and staffing that might be needed elsewhere. This decision will be evaluated weekly while considering the status of COVID-19, current supplies and available staff.

UPDATED HOURS FOR WASHINGTON REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC
March 20, 2020 - Effective March 20, the Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic hours of operation are changing to 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. The clinic is located at 3318 N. North Hills Boulevard in Fayetteville and will remain open seven days a week.

KNWA: FULL INTERVIEW WITH WASHINGTON REGIONAL CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
March 19, 2020 - Washington Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Ratcliff responds to the first Coronavirus case in Northwest Arkansas in this interview with KNWA. To view the video go to https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/knwa/full-interview-with-washington-regional-chief-medical-officer/.

5NEWS: FACTS NOT FEAR: YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ANSWERED
March 19, 2020 - Dr. Mark Thomas from Washington Regional answers questions from the community. To view the video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhRhQkW5LUQ.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL PREPAREDNESS FOR CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
March 18, 2020 - Washington Regional is committed to providing a safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff members. In our numerous preparations to care for patients with Coronavirus infections, we have equipped designated care locations, staffed by trained healthcare professionals. In the event we have a significant number of patients with Coronavirus who need care, we have a plan in place and will continue to work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health as appropriate.

If an individual has symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Washington Regional is equipped to provide screenings at two locations:
  • Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic for patients who have symptoms of the virus, but do not require emergent care. This screening facility is located at 3318 N. North Hills Blvd. and is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. weekends.

    Upon arrival to the clinic, individuals will be evaluated to identify their risk factors for the virus. The screening clinic will follow guidelines as established by the Arkansas Department of Health for testing. Only individuals who have current symptoms of a respiratory infection, including high fever, cough and shortness of breath and who also meet the following criteria will be tested:
    • Over the age of 65 OR
    • Have a chronic illness that places them at risk for serious infection. This includes chronic heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes or conditions, including medications, which affect the immune system OR
    • Have had close contact (within 6 feet) in last 14 days with an individual who is confirmed to have or is suspected of having COVID-19 OR
    • Are a healthcare worker
  • If patients do not meet these criteria, they will be asked to return home and follow up with their primary care provider. If a patient does meet these criteria, specimens will be obtained for testing. After specimens are collected, patients will then be asked to return home for self-quarantine until test results become available, or as instructed by the Arkansas Department of Health.

  • Washington Regional Emergency Department for patients with symptoms requiring emergent care. The Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is equipped with locations for both potential and confirmed Coronavirus patients. In the event a room is not immediately available, our waiting room is separated to isolate those with symptoms from those without symptoms. If possible, individuals with symptoms should call to notify the Emergency Department prior to arrival so the care team can instruct them on how and where to present.
For those patients who require hospitalization, Washington Regional Medical Center is equipped to provide necessary care to Coronavirus patients within:
  • Specialized rooms in our Emergency Department, including locations for both potential and confirmed Coronavirus patients
  • A dedicated critical care unit for patients with suspected and confirmed Coronavirus infections where care is overseen by intensivists and an infectious disease physician
  • Personnel who are closely monitoring patients and working in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health and Center for Disease Control as appropriate
If additional specialized isolation units are needed, we have a plan in place to determine which patients can safely receive care in other areas of our hospital. We are also prepared to open additional isolation units as necessary.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL IMPLEMENTS ENHANCED VISITOR AND STAFF SCREENING PROCESS
March 18, 2020 - In order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), today at noon, Washington Regional Medical Center will implement an enhanced screening process for all staff and visitors entering the hospital. Upon entrance to the facility, staff and visitors will have their temperature taken and be asked a short series of questions. Staff and visitors who successfully complete the screening process will be given an armband that must be worn while on the hospital campus. Those with risk factors for Coronavirus infection and those who have a fever or symptoms of a respiratory illness will not be allowed into the facility. Visitors must also provide the name of the patient they are visiting, and adult patients are permitted only one visitor at a time.

Additionally, the hospital cafeteria, Tyson Commons, will be closed to the public and only open to Washington Regional staff members. Public health authorities are encouraging such steps to proactively prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The hospital’s other ining areas, Five Loaves Sandwich Shop and the Apothecary Coffee Shop will remain open to visitors.

The number of visitor entrances into the hospital remain limited:
  • Main Entrance: Monday – Friday, 4:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Women & Infants Center (Parking Garage Entrance) and Emergency Department: Open 24 hours a day/7 days per week
The Willard Walker Hospice Home will also undergo Coronavirus screening for visitors and staff members, but there is not a limitation on the number of visitors allowed at one time. Those with risk factors for Coronavirus infection and those who have a fever or symptoms of a respiratory illness will not be allowed to visit.

Washington Regional is committed to the safety of our patients and the community. We appreciate the community’s support as we enact these measures to protect our patients, visitors, and team members.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC, HOTLINE EXPERIENCE HIGH VOLUME
March 17, 2020 - Since opening on March 16, the Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Hotline are experiencing a high volume of patients and calls. Nearly 200 patients have been evaluated at the Fayetteville screening clinic, and hotline staff have answered almost 1,200 calls. Please be patient as we continue to provide compassionate, high quality care, prevention and wellness education to our community.

Please do the following before visiting the screening clinic:
If you are not seriously ill, stay home and consult your primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider, utilize the UAMS digital screening tool (www.uamshealth.com/healthnow) OR call the Washington Regional Coronavirus Screening Hotline at 479.463.2055. Healthcare professionals will be able to advise you if you need further evaluation at our screening clinic. There continues to be a limited number of Coronavirus testing kits available in the community, and we are following Arkansas Department of Health guidelines regarding who should be tested. Only people who meet the following criteria will be tested:
  • Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath) that has not previously been diagnosed by a healthcare provider as another illness, such as flu or strep, AND at least one of the following:
  • Are age 65 or older OR
  • Have a chronic health condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, or immunodeficiency OR
  • Have had contact with someone who has had a positive Coronavirus test OR
  • Are a healthcare worker
Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Center hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. weekends. The clinic is located at 3318 N. North Hills Boulevard in Fayetteville. The Washington Regional Coronavirus Hotline is 479.463.2055 and is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL OPENS DRIVE-THRU CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC IN EUREKA SPRINGS
March 16, 2020 - Effective Monday, March 16, Washington Regional Eureka Springs Family Clinic, located at 146 Passion Play Road, Suite A, will offer drive-thru screening for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. As patients enter the parking lot, they will be screened for symptoms of the Coronavirus.
Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
Patients there for other medical needs without symptoms will be able to proceed inside the clinic.
Patients with symptoms of the virus will be given a mask and directed to park, and will be screened in their vehicle. They will be interviewed by a provider and may have routine tests performed to assess their illness, for example to rule out influenza.
The Arkansas Department of Health advises that those with symptoms and negative for the flu virus, who are greater than 65 years of age, or have serious chronic illness or immune deficiency should be tested for Coronavirus. In addition, those who have symptoms and have had direct contact with people who have the Coronavirus or who have traveled to high risk areas should also be tested. All others who have symptoms but do not meet these risk factors and are medically stable, will be asked to return home and self-quarantine until the supply of testing materials improves. We hope this will happen within a matter of days.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL TO OPEN CORONAVIRUS SCREENING HOTLINE

March 15, 2020 - In conjunction with the opening of Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic on Monday, March 16, at 10 am, Washington Regional will also activate a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Hotline, staffed by experienced healthcare professionals. This hotline will allow community members  to call and complete a coronavirus screening. If it is then determined further evaluation or testing is necessary, the appropriate referrals will be made. Community members can call 479.463.2055 to access the Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Hotline, beginning Monday, March 16 at 8 a.m. 
The hotline will be open seven day a week from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

SOUTHWEST TIMES RECORD: THE STATE IS WORKING TO INCREASE COVID-19 TESTING CAPACITY WHILE WASHINGTON REGIONAL AND OTHER HEALTH SYSTEMS PREPARE FOR PATIENTS: March 14, 2020 - https://www.swtimes.com/news/20200314/3-healthcare-workers-test-presumed-positive-for-covid-19

WASHINGTON REGIONAL TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS VOLUNTEER SERVICES PROGRAM
March 14, 2020 - Effective March 14: Washington Regional’s Volunteer Services Program has been temporarily suspended until further notice. This measure is being implemented to prevent spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and specifically to protect the health of our valued team of volunteers.

COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO SUSPECT THEY HAVE SYMPTOMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS (FEVER, COUGH AND SHORTNESS OF BREATH) CAN BE EVALUATED AT THESE LOCATIONS:

March 14, 2020 - 

Washington Regional Urgent Care location in Fayetteville (3 E. Appleby Rd, Ste. 101)
Available now until Monday, March 16 at 10 am when our new screening clinic opens.
** Visits to this Urgent Care location should be limited to those who suspect they have coronavirus. Patients needing other urgent care services should visit our Urgent Care locations in Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville or Harrison.

KNWA: WASHINGTON REGIONAL TO OPEN COVID-19 SCREENING CLINIC  
March 13, 2020 - https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/washington-regional-to-open-covid-19-screening-clinic/

WASHINGTON REGIONAL TO OPEN CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC

March 13, 2020 - Effective Monday, March 16, Washington Regional will begin operating a Coronavirus (COVID-19) screening clinic at 3318 N. North Hills Boulevard in Fayetteville. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. weekends.
People who suspect they have symptoms of the virus will be evaluated to identify their risk factors, including history of fever and respiratory symptoms. Those that screen at risk for Coronavirus infection will have specimens obtained for further testing. They will then be asked to return home for self-quarantine until test results become available, or as instructed by the Arkansas Department of Health. If patients do not screen at risk and do not need further evaluation, they will be asked to return home and follow up with their primary care provider. Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Until the screening center is open on Monday, March 16th at 10:00 am, all screening will be completed at the Washington Regional Urgent Care location located at 3 East Appleby Road, Suite 101.

KNWA: COVID-19 Q&A WITH DR. MARK THOMAS
To watch video, click here to visit the KNWA web page.
March 13, 2020 -
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — With big events canceled both in Northwest Arkansas and nationwide, there are a lot of questions surrounding COVID-19 also known as the coronavirus. Dr. Mark Thomas, physician at Washington Regional says hospital staff are working as hard as they can to be prepared for the virus.
What do you want people to know about the coronavirus?
Dr. Thomas: I think the most important thing is that everyone is affected. We want people that have symptoms to consider staying home and observing themselves at home, isolating themselves at home, to prevent spread of the outbreak. If you have any questions, call your doctor and get advice. If you’re not doing well, that may mean that you need to come in to see a provider or go to a hospital. Let providers know that you fear you may have been exposed to the virus so that they can take adequate protection.
What are some of the symptoms?
Dr. Thomas: The most important symptoms to think about are the usual symptoms people get with flu or cold. Fever, cough, and possibly shortness of breath.
Who’s most at risk?
Dr. Thomas: The most vulnerable among us. People that are older, who have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease.
The coronavirus is being compared to the flu. Can you talk about the similarities and differences?
Dr. Thomas: Unfortunately, although they’re similar and sometimes we can’t distinguish the symptoms, it’s important to know that the reason we’re all very concerned about the coronavirus is it has considerably more ability to spread. Maybe 20x as much. It has higher, severe effects, especially in vulnerable populations, maybe also 20x as much. That’s why we’re taking this illness very seriously.
Is it something that you get just once? Or can you get it multiple times?
Dr. Thomas: I’m not sure we understand the coronavirus that well. I think that it’s reasonable to assume that people have some short term immunity after having the illness, but it’s too early to say.
How long does the virus last after it has been diagnosed?
Dr. Thomas: Again, we don’t understand [the coronavirus] completely. It’s clear that people can present with symptoms after they’ve been exposed anywhere from two to 14 days. After getting the illness, most people think that the illness will last for a couple of weeks.
What does testing look like? When should people go get tested?
Dr. Thomas: Testing has been a challenge. This is the main concern of most people around the country. Testing is getting available here in Northwest Arkansas. The state health department has testing available as well as private labs. We’re trying to prioritize that for patients obviously sick in the hospital, those patients that are at risk of serious illness, such as people with heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and also screening healthcare workers that may have been exposed.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL CENTER FOR EXERCISE TO TEMPORARILY CEASE OPERATIONS
March 13, 2020 - Effective at Noon on March 13, 2020: To protect our community, patrons and staff from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Washington Regional Center for Exercise will temporarily cease operations. Public health authorities are encouraging such steps to proactively prevent the spread of the virus. We will evaluate whether to resume normal operations on a weekly basis. Center for Exercise members will not incur any charges during this time.

NEW HOSPITAL VISITOR GUIDELINES
March 12, 2020 - Effective March 13, 2020: Visitors will be asked a short series of questions upon entrance to the facility. Visitors with risk factors for Coronavirus infection and visitors who have a fever or symptoms of a respiratory illness will not be allowed to visit. Additionally, visitors must provide the name of the patient, and adult patients will be permitted only one visitor at a time. During this time, the number of entrances into the hospital will be limited to two or three entrances depending on the day of the week and time of day:

  • Main Entrance: Monday – Friday, 4:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Women & Infants Center (Parking Garage Entrance) and Emergency Department: Open 24 hours a day/7 days per week.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IS WASHINGTON REGIONAL PREPARED FOR CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?

Washington Regional providers and staff have been trained on procedures to identify and treat coronavirus (COVID-19). Our team is working closely with the Arkansas Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to monitor the latest developments and implement recommended screening and treatment guidelines. In order to protect the health of those we serve, Washington Regional Medical Center is discouraging visitation and screening all visitors upon entrance to the facility.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO PREVENT THE VIRUS?

Frequent handwashing is the first line of defense against coronavirus. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol are effective.

Other ways to prevent exposure to coronavirus include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw away the tissue
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces with household cleaning sprays or wipes
  • Stay home when you are sick

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?

If you have symptoms that are not life threatening, stay home. If you need advice:

  • Consult your primary care physician via telephone or digital communication
  • If you do not have a primary care provider, consult www.uamshealth.com/healthnow for a free online screening OR contact the Arkansas Department of Health Call Center at 1.800.803.7847 OR the Washington Regional Coronavirus Hotline at 479.463.2055.
If you have symptoms that are not life threatening, and you meet any of the following criteria, visit the Washington Regional Coronavirus Screening Clinic at 3318 N. North Hills Blvd in Fayetteville or 146 Passion Play Rd. in Eureka Springs:
  • Over the age of 65
  • Have a chronic illness (such as heart, lung or kidney disease; diabetes; immune system conditions; or take medications that impact the immune system)
  • Have had close contact (within 6 feet) in last 14 days with an individual who has suspected or laboratory confirmed Coronavirus infection
  • Are a healthcare worker
  • Please limit those who go to the screening clinic to patient and one visitor – other family members should remain home or in the vehicle. 

If you begin to experience worsening conditions such as increased shortness of breath (such as not being able to catch your breath), call 911 or visit the Emergency Department. Please limit those who go to the Emergency Department to patient and one visitor – other family members should remain home or in the vehicle.

IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS, HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD GET TESTED?

Due to limited testing availability, only individuals who meet the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) guidelines will be tested. Those guidelines state individuals must meet these criteria:
  • have current, active symptoms of a respiratory infection including fever AND cough or shortness of breath AND
  • meet any of the guidelines below:
    • are over the age of 65
    • have a chronic illness (such as heart, lung or kidney disease; diabetes; immune system conditions; or take medications that impact the immune system)
    • have had close contact (within 6 feet) in last 14 days with an individual who has suspected or laboratory confirmed coronavirus infection
    • are a healthcare worker

I AM WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS FROM THE WASHINGTON REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC. WHEN SHOULD I EXPECT TO RECEIVE A CALL?

Due to the large amount of tests being processed, some results may take longer than expected. You will be contacted when your test results are available. Thank you for your patience.

WHAT IF I HAVE CURRENT, ACTIVE SYMPTOMS, BUT DO NOT MEET ANY OF THE TESTING CRITERIA?

If you have current, active symptoms, but do not meet the testing criteria, you should do one of the following:
  • Stay home if the symptoms are not life threatening. If you need advice, consult your primary care provider, go to www.uamshealth.com/healthnow, or call the Washington Regional screening hotline at 479.463.2055 or the Arkansas Department of Health Call Center at 1.800.803.7847
  • If the symptoms are worsening and you are having trouble breathing, call 911 or visit the Emergency Department

WHO IS MOST AT RISK FOR COMPLICATIONS FROM CORONAVIRUS?

Those most at risk for the virus are individuals who:

  • are over 65 years old, OR
  • are any age with a chronic condition (including heart, lung or kidney disease; diabetes; immune system condition), OR
  • are any age and on medications that suppress the immune system, OR
  • have had recent close contact with an individual who has suspected or laboratory confirmed coronavirus infection, OR
  • has traveled within the last 14 days from a World Health Organization (WHO) identified area endemic for COVID-19

I HAVE AN UPCOMING APPOINTMENT AT WASHINGTON REGIONAL. SHOULD I GO?

Unless your provider advises you to reschedule, plan to keep your appointment with your Washington Regional provider. As with any illness, contact your provider prior to your appointment if you are not feeling well to determine if you need to reschedule your appointment.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/
Arkansas Department of Health: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/ or 1.800.803.7847 to reach the call center.
U.S Department of State: https://www.state.gov/
Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Mapping: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

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