“We are still learning a lot about this virus. It’s in the same family as SARS and MERS which are other types of respiratory viruses,” said Deaconess Midtown Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phillip Adams.
The coronavirus is taking its toll across the world. Tens of thousands of cases have swept through China where the disease started.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday – 15 cases of the virus have been reported in the United States.
“It’s very important that we not rule things out at this stage and that’s why we need to keep taking prudent measures to protect the American public,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Some TriState hospitals already have measures in place to prevent exposure.
“We have had a screening process in place for several weeks now and we are looking at any of those patients that come in, in terms of screening for this particular virus, we are looking at anyone who has traveled to China in the last 21 days, who has a fever, cough, or shortness of breath,” said Dr. Phillip Adams, Chief Medical Officer of the Deaconess Midtown Hospital.
There are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in our area – but symptoms are similar to the flu – which has health officials concerned. Flu season typically doesn’t peak until the end of February but medical experts aren’t taking any chances.
“There’s a specific algorithm to follow and so yes we would isolate them in terms of providing a mask, limiting the potential exposure until we can rule them in or rule them out in terms of having the disease,” Dr. Adams said.
Although the closest case of the coronavirus was reported in Chicago, the likelihood of catching the disease remains low.
“Really in terms of your risks it’s fairly isolated in terms of locations, so really your biggest risk is more in terms of flu than the coronavirus because of the limited exposure to the coronavirus.”
Dr. Adams says there are few ways to protect you and your family and it’s really pretty simple.
“When you wash your hands, make sure you’re taking at least 20 seconds. also cover your coughs and sneezes – to ensure you’re not spreading your germs,” Dr. Adams said.