March 4, 2020 — With confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increasing across the U.S., including in Oregon and Washington, PeaceHealth continues to actively monitor and prepare for the potential spread in its communities.
For the first time last week, more new cases were reported outside of China than inside, according to the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)has issued additional travel health notices for countries experiencing sustained transmission of COVID-19.
The total number of cases globally has now reached more than 90,000, with more than 80 reported cases in the U.S. At this time, no confirmed cases have been identified at any PeaceHealth facilities.
PeaceHealth has developed emergency preparedness plans and remains in close partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health agencies.
A number of processes and precautions have been implemented at all PeaceHealth hospitals and clinics to ensure the safety of patients, clinicians and caregivers:
• Screening protocols to identify those who have traveled abroad or have symptoms.
• Facilitating lab testing for patients who may be at risk.
• Implementation of CDC-recommended isolation processes and procedures.
• Assurance of adequate supplies of protective equipment in all locations, including masks and appropriate signage.
PeachHealth asks that patients call their PeaceHealth provider’s office before arriving if they meet both of the following:
• Have recently traveled outside the United States or have been in contact with a person known to have COVID-19
• Have symptoms including fever or upper respiratory infection symptoms (i.e. cough).
This will allow the hospital to create a care plan that ensures the safety of patients and caregivers.
Importance of hand hygiene
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The CDC 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 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 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Visit the CDC’s novel coronavirus website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) for the latest news and resources.