What you need to know about Coronavirus

By Jana Bray, Community Relations Director on 03/11/2020 10:52 AM

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What you need to know about Coronavirus

What is coronavirus?

Every time you switch on the television, turn on the radio, or browse your social media newsfeed, no doubt you are seeing news on coronavirus. So let’s talk about it.

Coronaviruses are not new. They are a family of viruses that typically cause mild colds. We see them year round, although like all cold and cough viruses, we see them more in the winter.

COVID-19 is a ‘novel,’ or new, strain of Coronavirus. That means it’s something our immune systems have never seen before. This is the strain of coronavirus that you are hearing about in the news.

Like other coronaviruses, COVID-19 will cause cold/cough symptoms, likely with a mild fever; and like other viruses, there is no treatment besides simply treating the symptoms.

The spread of COVID-19 in other countries has been exacerbated by people flooding the emergency departments and doctors’ offices. Please refrain from doing this.

Rockcastle Family Wellness physician Dr. Karen Saylor advises that if you or anyone in your family are experiencing only mild cold symptoms and have not been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or recently traveled to an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, to simply stay home and treat your symptoms. 

“Mild colds are present in our community right now, just as they are this time every other year,” said Dr. Saylor. “There is no cure for the cold but you can feel better by getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines may help ease symptoms but will not make your cold go away any faster.”

Dr. Saylor advises to carefully read the directions on medication labels and follow them, taking note of what medications are appropriate for younger children. 

If you are experiencing these symptoms and suspect you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or recently traveled to an area with widespread COVID-19, then call your doctor and explain your symptoms over the phone. Your doctor can advise you if you need to seek medical treatment.

Coronavirus on a laboratory respiratory panel

Some patients who have been tested for illness with a hospital or laboratory-based respiratory virus panel may see a positive for coronavirus on that panel. This is not the COVID-19 that is on the news.

Current respiratory panels do not detect the COVID-19 and a special test must be ordered and processed at the state public health laboratory, at this time. Public health officials are working with providers to assist in determining who may need the COVID-19 testing. Currently, only people who have traveled to affected areas and start showing symptoms or people who have been in contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be approved for testing.

How to prevent it and stop the spread

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

Rockcastle Regional infection control coordinator Traci Bullens, RN, says the best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. She says that is why it is important to practice the same steps we use every day to prevent the spread of other respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue then throw it away, or cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

At this time, Rockcastle Regional doesn’t have any cases of COVID-19 in the facility, nor do we have them in our community; but since the organization serves the entire state of Kentucky and many surrounding states, we are being ever so vigilant. The hospital has implemented infection control protocols recommended by the CDC to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter the facility.

Visitor Guidelines

Acute Care Hospital: Visitors to the Acute Care Hospital will be allowed to visit if they are without a fever, runny nose, or flu-like symptoms.

Respiratory Care Center: Visitation to the Respiratory Care Center will be limited to those loved ones that are receiving end-of-life care. For those who do visit, we ask you to be extra cautious when deciding to enter our facility as this patient population is extremely vulnerable and every step must be taken to prevent the introduction of COVID-19.

If you are visiting patients or residents at Rockcastle Regional, you are encouraged to wash your hands with soap and water when entering and leaving patient rooms. Those with fever, runny nose, body aches, or respiratory symptoms should not visit.

Due to the evolving nature of this issue, the information and protocols above are subject to change. For additional information about COVID-19, Bullens recommends resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date and accurate updates at www.cdc.gov.

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