MACOMB, Ill. – With facts, rumors, speculation, and constant media attention surrounding COVID-19 (or commonly referred to as the Coronavirus), McDonough District Hospital wants to address some public concerns.
First and foremost, if a person is experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath they should call their primary care provider. If they do not have a primary care provider, call the MDH Family Clinic or MDH Convenience Clinic at (309) 837-6937.
MDH staff are meeting on a regular basis to assess the current situation around the state and the country, anticipate any issue that could arise should there be a positive test in the area, and make sure staff and patients are educated on the latest news.
“What we have seen from the numbers so far, the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 will recover uneventfully. In most cases, it does not require hospitalization but rather self-isolation at home,” said Dr. Edwin Card, MDH Chief Medical Officer. “As a hospital, we have isolation protocols already in place and have for a long time. We are prepared should COVID-19 arise in our community. I think COVID-19 is a cause for concern, but not a panic.”
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.CDC.gov) as of March 12, 2020, there were a total of 1,215 cases within the United States with 36 fatalities. Among the cases that were diagnosed in the United States, 125 were persons with a history of recent travel in China or other affected areas, and 102 were persons in close contact with another confirmed COVID-19 patient (i.e., person-to-person spread).
There are cases reported in 43 states and the District of Columbia as of March 12 according to the CDC website. States that reported cases varied from 1-5 cases in the state to 267 (state of Washington). The Illinois Department of Public Health (www.DPH.Illinois.gov) announced 25 total cases of COVID-19 in the state as of Wednesday (March 11).
It is important to remember COVID-19 is still not as prevalent as Influenza A & B. So far this flu season, the CDC estimates there have been 34 million cases of influenza, 16 million influenza medical visits, 350,000 influenza hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths.
What are some precautions I can take?
Here are a few suggestions on how to help stop the spread of not only COVID-19 but also influenza.
– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer comprised of at least 60% alcohol.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
– Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash.
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
– If you feel ill, stay at home unless it’s to seek medical care. If you feel ill and must be out in public, wear a protective mask.
– If you are NOT sick, you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick. Facemasks may be in short supply, and should be saved for caregivers.
What symptoms should I look for?
If you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath, AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 then call your primary care provider.
What precautions have MDH put in place should there be a diagnosed case?
If a COVID-19 case appears in McDonough County, McDonough District Hospital is prepared to handle the situation. MDH is working with the McDonough County Health Department, and with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as needed, to make sure proper precautions and protocols are followed for the testing of a possible case and assist in a patient’s recovery if a test comes back positive.
Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:
– The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
– The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough.
– The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.
Current risk assessment per the CDC (www.CDC.gov):
– For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.
– People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
– Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
– Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
– Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with an increase in risk dependent on location.
McDonough District Hospital, the McDonough County Health Department, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (www.team-IHA.org), the IDPH (www.DPH.Illinois.gov), and the CDC (www.CDC.gov) are constantly monitoring the situation. Updates are posted daily on the CDC website.