Feb 28, 2020

Baxter Regional prepared for CDC updates on coronavirus

Baxter Regional Medical Center has been preparing for weeks should a patient be suspected to have coronavirus (COVID-19) and has implemented a screening process for all patients entering the facility. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded the geographical areas of patients that should be tested. Prior to the CDC update, Baxter Regional only screened individuals who had traveled to China in the last 14 days and have respiratory symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, headache, sore throat, or fever. With the update, travel to Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea are now included. If a patient is identified as being at risk, hospital staff will immediately fit the patient with a surgical mask, place them in a negative pressure airborne room, and notify the Arkansas Department of Health. Although the hospital has yet to identify a patient that has met these criteria, it is extremely important that these patients are able to be identified quickly upon arrival to the facility so that proper precautions can be implemented to prevent further spread. The hospital is also ensuring that they have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for staff to properly care for these patients and protect themselves.

Coronavirus is similar to the flu, and the same precautions should be taken. It can be spread through coughing and sneezing. Wash your hands often and well for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home when you are sick, and isolate yourself from others. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Coronavirus is also spread through contact with surfaces, so clean and disinfect frequently touched areas and objects such as door handles and countertops.

If you think you may have coronavirus, please notify your healthcare provider before arrival so that precautions can be taken before your entrance to the facility. The CDC has issued a Level 3 travel warning advising to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea and China. A Level 2 travel warning to practice enhanced precautions and postpone nonessential travel in Italy, Iran, and Japan has also been implemented.

For the latest local updates on coronavirus, please visit https://www.baxterregional.org/patients-visitors/community/coronavirus/.

For the latest information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html