Although there is currently NO increased risk of coronavirus in our area, CGH Medical Center has implemented travel screenings for ALL of our patients per recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). These screenings include questions regarding international travel, specifically to China, as well as current symptoms.
“There are currently no cases of coronavirus in our immediate area,” said Gina Superczynski MS, RN, CIC, CGH Infection Prevention and Control RN. “However, we want to ensure our patients that we are screening appropriately and taking all necessary steps to protect our community.”
The 2019 novel coronavirus is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. The virus was first identified in China. Limited person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected with this virus in the United States. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, which can occur 2-14 days after exposure.
“If you have travelled outside the country recently and have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your healthcare provider prior to your scheduled appointment,” said Superczynski. “You may be asked to wear a face mask if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection as a precaution. Furthermore, the travel screenings may add additional on-hold time when calling into your healthcare provider or while waiting to be seen. We thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Of more concern right now is the risk of seasonal influenza in our area. According to the most current estimates from the CDC, there have been at least 12,000 deaths, 22 million illnesses and 210,000 hospitalizations from flu during the 2019-20 flu season.
Due to the continued increase of influenza in our community, CGH Medical Center’s temporary visitor restrictions remain in place for the health and safety of our patients. These restrictions include: a limit of 2 adult visitors per patient at any time; no visitors under the age of 18; all visitors must be symptom-free, including no fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose or sore throat; cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze; and make sure you clean your hands when entering and leaving a patient room. In addition, patients coming into the CGH Emergency Department or outpatient clinics with flu symptoms will be asked to wear a mask.
“If you haven’t already, get the flu vaccine,” urged Superczynski. “Getting this simple shot can help increase your chances of staying healthy and avoid getting others sick, while lessening your symptoms or length of symptoms if you do get sick.” To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, remember to:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.