Faith Regional Health Services has developed a Coronavirus Preparedness Plan based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, American Hospital Association and Nebraska Hospital Association.
Serving on the task force are representatives from various areas of the hospital. The Infection Control Coordinator and other key individuals at Faith Regional are monitoring daily updates from the CDC to ensure that we have the most current information about caring for a patient with CoVID-19.
Patients who have contracted the coronavirus will begin to develop upper respiratory tract symptoms within the first couple of days – a runny nose, cough, fever, and sore throat.
“Because the symptoms of the coronavirus are so similar to influenza, travel history is often the best indicator,” said Dr. Afua Ntem-Mensah, an infectious disease specialist at Faith Regional.
Screening strategies and processes are in place at all points of entry into the health system as part of the check in process. Those with upper respiratory tract symptoms will be asked if they’ve recently traveled outside the U.S. or have had contact with anyone that has traveled outside the U.S. If the answer is yes, additional questions will be asked. In addition, patients with upper respiratory tract symptoms will be required to put on a face mask and taken to an individualized room to continue assessment of the illness and travel history.
While scientists are working hard to develop a vaccine for CoVID-19, currently there is no vaccine or treatment.
“We’ve created a plan regarding how the hospital would be able to contain a suspected case,” added Dr. Mensah. “It’s always a case of infection prevention and infection control. Since you cannot treat the infection, you contain it until you have some way to treat it.”
“While the risk for being exposed to the corona virus in Northeast Nebraska is very low, the best way to protect our medical staff, employees, patients and their families is to be proactive and prepared,” said Kelly Driscoll, President and CEO of Faith Regional.
“The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands,” said Dr. Mensah. “I also advise wearing face masks at airports, where you may encounter people coming from a high-risk country or region. By wearing facemasks, washing your hands, and covering your mouth when you cough, you are also protecting yourself against influenza.”
For more information concerning the Coronavirus Disease, consult the CDC website.