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WHMS has Coronavirus Preparedness Plan

Monday, March 9, 2020

ATKINSON, NE — West Holt Medical Services (WHMS) has been closely monitoring updates on the coronavirus COVID-19 and is prepared to respond should the virus reach the area. A Coronavirus Preparedness Plan has been developed based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Hospital Association and other Nebraska hospitals.

The Infection Prevention Coordinator and the Senior Leadership Team receive daily updates and protocols from the CDC and North Central District Health Department (NCDHD) to ensure WHMS remains current with prevention and treatment recommendations for persons with COVID-19.

Screening strategies are in place at WHMS. Individuals that come to WHMS will be asked a series of questions to determine if they have signs, symptoms, or indicators associated with COVID-19. Questions include: Do you have a fever, cough, or sore throat? Have you traveled outside of the United States in the past 14 days? Have you been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19? Patients with upper respiratory tract symptoms will be required to wear a face mask and taken to a private room to continue with assessment and care.

Individuals who have contracted the virus will develop the following upper respiratory symptoms within the first few days: runny nose, cough, fever, and sore throat. These symptoms are very similar to influenza which is why travel history becomes an important factor in determining the likelihood of the illness being the coronavirus.

Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, other than symptom management.  Individuals with mild symptoms are encouraged to manage their symptoms at home and not come into the clinic, emergency room or hospital. By managing symptoms at home, affected patients are reducing exposure to others.

Practicing good handwashing habits with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent infection. If soap and water are not readily available, use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. In addition, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing will help protect you and others.  If you are traveling in an airplane consider wearing a mask as you may encounter individuals from a high-risk country.

“The health and well-being of our patients and employees is our number one priority. That’s why our healthcare team is actively monitoring the situation. We believe in proactive planning and preparedness. Prevention is our best defense,” shared Ashley J. Rivera, Chief Executive Officer at West Holt Medical Services.

For the most up-to-date information concerning Coronavirus, visit the CDC website or contact the local health department.