Update on Novel Coronavirus

Our patients can be assured that Welia Health is prepared to screen, identify potential patient(s) and isolate and care for patients exposed or infected with the coronavirus.

Welia Health is prepared to care for infected patients if needed:

Our hospital, clinics and healthcare providers are trained to manage infectious diseases including new infectious diseases like coronavirus.

Our hospital, clinics and healthcare providers work with each other, the Minnesota Department of Health and emergency preparedness officials.

If doctoring or visiting Welia Health, patients and visitors can expect to see signs and to be asked if they have respiratory symptoms, if they are currently sick or have recently traveled internationally.

If a patient presents with symptoms (fever, cough) and has traveled outside the country in the past month, he/she will be masked and referred to a triage nurse.

Background

Health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

Infections with 2019-nCoV also are being reported in at least 26 countries internationally, including the United States, where the first 2019-nCoV infection was detected in a traveler returning from Wuhan on January 21, 2020.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and are estimated to cause about a third of all cases of the common cold.

Infections with the 2019-nCoV are a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before. According to the CDC, patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Some patients have had other symptoms including muscle aches, headache, sore throat or diarrhea.

Based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of other coronaviruses, the CDC believes that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear two to 14 days after exposure. It is also not yet clear how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person.

Welia Health and its healthcare providers are trained and prepared for infectious diseases

  • Hospitals, clinics or other healthcare providers, including Welia Health, are instructed to call the Minnesota Department of Health regarding any patient(s) who may be infected with 2019-nCoV.
    • If the patient(s) meet criteria for testing; laboratory samples will be collected and submitted to the CDC for testing. This testing can take several days.
    • While awaiting test results, the ill person(s) is/are isolated to prevent others from becoming ill.
  • If at any point CDC testing were to confirm a case of 2019-nCoV in a Minnesotan, the available details and protective recommendations will be shared with the patient(s), people who have been in close contact with the ill person and the public as quickly as possible.
  • Welia Health has personal protective equipment: masks (including N95s), gowns and other materials for these types of events. The staff at Welia Health have been properly trained on their use.
  • The disinfectant cleaners used at Welia Health are effective against human coronaviruses.
  • As with any infectious disease, we are continually working to prepare for possible cases of coronavirus.

In Minnesota

At this time (2/10/2020), no cases have been confirmed in Minnesota; however, there is one confirmed case in Madison, Wisconsin.
Hospitals and health systems are collaborating and coordinating via the Minnesota Hospital Association and the state’s health department. As part of the Minnesota Hospital Association, Welia Health is participating in weekly coordinating calls with MDH.
Minnesota hospitals and health systems will follow the CDC interim guidelines for health care professionals, which include screening patients for travel to China or outside the country, evaluating patients, reporting patients under investigation (PUIs) to MDH, testing specimens and infection control.
Minnesota has a strong disease surveillance system in place that finds cases quickly and responds to them effectively. That rapid response helps ensure that the ill person receives the care they need and it lessens the chance of others getting sick. Systems and processes are in place to monitor travelers for symptoms of 2019-nCoV.
MDH updates healthcare providers with new information and recommendations as they become available. Because information is changing quickly, and misinformation is circulating, The MDH and CDC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus websites are the best places to get the most accurate information.

What you can do

  • Take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • 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.
  • Stay home when you 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. Again, the disinfectant wipes used at Welia Health are effective against human coronaviruses.
  • These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.
  • If traveling, refer to the CDC who has specific guidance for travelers.

This notice was originally posted on February 10, 2020.