Information provided by Amy Bannister, RN, MSN, the Infection Control Coordinator at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital.
I understand that there have been rumors of confirmed Novel Coronavirus patients in San Benito County, and I wanted to put those rumors to rest.
As of Jan. 30, there are no confirmed cases of this virus in San Benito County.
Yesterday, hospital leadership and members of our local public health team met to review and clarify the process for assessing and testing persons who may be infected with this virus, and we are prepared to care for what may arise as a result of the current situation.
As part of being prepared, our emergency department and clinics have been given clear screening instructions including these three questions:
- Do you have new or worsening respiratory symptoms?
- Have you traveled to, or from, China in the last 14 days?
- Have you had close contact with an ill (laboratory-confirmed) 2019-coronavirus patient?
If an individual meets the criteria, our San Benito County Public Health Department is coordinating with the CDC to determine if they should be tested and investigated for the virus. In the event that a person does meet this criteria, they are to be masked immediately, and placed in a negative pressure room. All persons involved with direct patient care, or in that patient’s room, must utilize airborne, contact, and mucous membrane protection with a CAPR, or N95 and goggles.
We are still in the middle of influenza season, and many other respiratory viruses are present throughout the world at this time. While we do not currently have any confirmed cases of coronavirus in our community, it is important that we practice good standard precautions, respiratory precautions, and respiratory etiquette. Any person with respiratory symptoms should be masked immediately if they are a patient seeking medical care. If they are a visitor, it would be better they return when symptoms have resolved.
I am confident in our staff and our ability to utilize our knowledge and training to take care of our community.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email or call.
Amy Bannister, RN, MSN
PRIME/Infection Control Coordinator
Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital