There is an expanding global outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, three individuals in Iowa have presumptively tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While most COVID-19 cases are associated with travel to or from China, person-to-person spread is now being reported in other places, including Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low.
Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics would like to continue to remind people to protect themselves and the community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus. Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. Practice these five everyday preventive behaviors!
- Stay home when sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Frequently wash hands 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.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics is asking all patients that have fever symptoms or lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath), to please put on a mask before you check in for your appointment. Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics has also implemented additional screening questions during registration to protect our patients and staff. Patients are encouraged to call ahead if they meet the criteria above.
“Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics continues to work closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to monitor the status of COVID-19.” Said Kolton Hewlett, Senior Director of Administration at Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics. “We have and will continue to work with our local, state, and national partners to ensure our staff our prepared.”
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has requested Iowans returning from a country where novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading to voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days following their return. Areas in this travel notice currently include Italy, Japan, and South Korea.
Individuals returning from affected areas are asked to stay home and monitor their symptoms for 14 days and if they become ill and need to seek medical care, they should call ahead to their doctor’s office and inform them of their recent travel. “We recognize staying at home for 14 days is an inconvenience, but it is an important way to limit the spread of a variety of illnesses, including COVID-19. The department urges employers to work with staff to consider flexible leave policies and tele-working options,” said IDPH Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati.
Residents should prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine. This includes making a plan and discussing it with your family. Symptoms of the COVID-19 in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is doing an excellent job keeping Iowans informed regarding the Coronavirus. You can visit their Facebook page or their website at www.idph.iowa.gov for more information. Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics will continue to share information from IDPH as we are able.