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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Welia Health and the Facts

March 5, 2020  /   Coronavirus, Press Releases  /   5-minute read

Welia Health is prepared to screen, identify potential patients, and isolate and care for patients.

  • When there is a threat of a disease that could cause a surge of patients, each individual hospital increases its preparedness and coordination activities. Hospitals and health systems throughout the state are working together to prepare for a surge of patients.
  • Welia Health is preparing to:
    • Handle patient questions at clinics
    • Provide hospitalization for those who require acute or ICU care, including people with underlying medical conditions
    • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect health care workers

Our hospital and health care providers are trained to manage infectious diseases including new infectious diseases like coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Our current understanding of COVID-19 suggests that most people who become infected will not become seriously ill and will not need hospitalization. Those with serious illness may need hospital care, including respiratory support.

Patients who are concerned about symptoms should call their primary care provider. Patients who are asked to come to the clinic can expect to see signs and to be asked if they have respiratory symptoms, are currently sick or have recently traveled internationally.

  • Depending on symptoms, they may be isolated and/or directed to the Emergency Department.

Our hospital, clinics and healthcare providers are trained and prepared for infectious diseases.

Hospitals, clinics or other health care providers are required to inform the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding patients who may be infected with COVID-19.

  • While awaiting test results, the ill person is isolated to prevent others from becoming ill.
  • If testing were to confirm a case of COVID-19 in a Minnesotan, the available details and protective recommendations would be shared with the patient, people who have been in close contact with the ill person and the public as quickly as possible.
  • Minnesota hospitals and health systems will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCD) interim guidelines for health care professionals, which include screening patients for travel, evaluating patients, reporting patients under investigation (PUIs) to MDH, testing specimens and infection control.
  • The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) and MDH are closely monitoring the CDC interim guidelines for health care professionals and provide updates for MN hospitals, health systems, and other key community stakeholders via weekly COVID-19 calls.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain

  • Welia Health has adequate supplies of PPE, and we are in close contact with our regional emergency coalition partners for help with PPE supply, if needed.
  • MDH has increased supply chain monitoring to identify any trends in PPE shortages.
  • MDH and Minnesota regional health care coalitions are encouraging hospitals and health systems to adhere to recommended scarce resource strategies to conserve current PPE stock.
  • As of last Friday, February 28, 2020, surgical masks have been removed from our lobby area. Staff are now handing each patient a surgical mask if they are being seen for a respiratory illness.

Transmission of COVID-19

  • Current understanding about how the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
    • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects is possible but is not the primary way the virus spreads.
    • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • When does spread happen?
    • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
    • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • How efficiently does the virus spread?
    • How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. Another factor is whether the spread continues over multiple generations of people (if spread is sustained).
    • The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in China and other parts of the world.
  • There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
    • Patients should be cared for in airborne isolation or negative air flow rooms.
  • There is still more to be learned.

The CDC does not recommend that people who feel well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

  • CDC does not recommend the routine use of respirators (personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth) in the community. Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet).
  • CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as avoiding people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes or nose, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue. People who are sick should stay home and not go into crowded public places or visit people in hospitals. Workers who are sick should follow CDC guidelines and stay home when they are sick.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • A surgical N95 (also referred as a medical respirator) is recommended only for use by health care personnel who need protection from both airborne and fluid hazards (e.g., splashes, sprays). These respirators are not used or needed outside of health care settings.

This bears repeating. This is what YOU can do.

Take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, for 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who 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. The disinfectant wipes which we use at Welia Health are effective against human coronaviruses.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

This notice was originally posted on March 5, 2020

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