Tri-State schools, hospitals preparing for coronavirus

Area hospitals prepare for possibility the coronavirus reaches the Tri-State

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Hospitals and schools around greater Cincinnati are preparing for the potential spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, into the region.

The measures come as Washington state health officials announced four more deaths, bringing the total count of fatalities in the U.S. to six.

Ninety-one cases have now been reported in 10 states.

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Andre Harris, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown says that if coronavirus does come to the Tri-State, their action plan will fall in line with the CDC’s issued guidelines.

“Once we get that patient in-house, we’re going to go through all the steps of isolating that patient, putting them in a negative pressure room, making sure that they have a mask on," Harris explained, "(and) making sure that our employees are covered also to make sure that we don’t transmit while we’re treating a patient.”

The CDC’s preparedness list, issued for hospitals across the country, includes everything from hand hygiene to visitor protocol to environmental sanitation.

“All of the testing right now is still being done through the CDC, and it’s through the health department,” Harris said. “So the hospital and even a doctor’s office aren’t the best places to run to.”

Those who have mild should stay away from work or school," he adds.

University of Cincinnati Medical Center specialists spent time on Facebook Monday discussing COVID-19 and their action plans for staff:

Want to know how we’re preparing for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19? Find out as we interview Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases; and Dr. Dustin Calhoun, medical director of emergency management for UC Health.

Posted by UC Health on Monday, March 2, 2020

Meanwhile, schools across the Tri-State are stocking up on healthcare items for their classrooms, like hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.

Mason City Schools says they’ve started to inform and educate parents who have concerns about the virus’s spread. They are also working with Warren County Health to gather and distribute new information as it becomes available.

Middletown Schools are following a similar course, working with Middletown Health Commissioner Jackie Phillips to get important information to the nurses in each of its schools.

Harris says the big thing is for schools to implement a similar protocol as they do for the flu: a lot of hand-washing, sanitizing, a reminder not to share glasses and keep children home if they’re not feeling well.

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