Hospital Happenings – March 2020

Information About COVID-19

It is difficult to get all of the facts about Coronavirus, COVID-19 during a two-minute story from the news and current headlines. I would like to take a step back and give you some basic information, talk about prevention and share with you what the hospital is doing to prepare. The most current and accurate information is available 24/7 at www.cdc.gov.
There are several strains of virus under the Coronavirus title. The strains include the common cold and other upper respiratory infections and most recently COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019,” which is the official name given by the World Health Organization. Some people infected with the virus have no symptoms. Some people get a low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat. However, occasionally COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms like high fever, severe cough and shortness of breath, which often indicates pneumonia. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure, or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

COVID-19 is mainly spread from person-to-person, from people who are in close contact with each other and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Currently, studies show that this virus is spreading easily and is quite contagious similar to the common cold.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us that there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
–>CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
–>Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
–>If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

If you think you or someone in your family may have a COVID-19 infection, please call your healthcare provider for advice. It is best not to seek medical care in the emergency department unless you have symptoms of severe illness. Severe symptoms include high or very low body temperature, shortness of breath, confusion, or a feeling you might pass out. We encourage you to call the emergency department ahead of time to let the staff know you are coming, so they can be prepared for your arrival. If your symptoms are not severe you should get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and take aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce fever and ease aches and pains.

To help keep things in perspective, the World Health Organization states that in the United States alone for the 2019-2020 season, there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths.

We also acknowledge that it’s only a matter of time before COVID-19 will affect Montrose and our surrounding communities. Our Emergency Preparedness team at Montrose Memorial Hospital collaborates with Montrose County Public Health and Montrose County Emergency Management to prepare and practice our emergency plans and procedures on a regular basis. We meet frequently to discuss possible events and how we would work together as a community in response to these situations. The drive-through flu clinic is a great example of a drill we participate in to help vaccinate our community members if the need arises. Specifically, MMH has plans and procedures to care for infectious patients and protocols for how we will report to public health and work with our healthcare partners.

We encourage you to stay informed, but don’t panic. Take care of yourself, wash your hands and practice good cough/cold etiquette. The healthcare providers are working hard to stay abreast of this situation and will be here to care for you in the event you need us.

Leann Tobin, Chief Marketing Officer, MMH 240-7344