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Stay Informed, Take Basic Precautions to Reduce Risk of New Coronavirus
Paul M. Lambrecht, MJ, MHA, CPHQ, CPPS, FACHE, Vice President Quality and Patient Safety, Inspira Health
At Inspira Health, we are committed to keeping you informed about the new coronavirus (COVID-19) that originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. We believe it is essential that everyone receive accurate information on a regular basis to minimize the potential impact this virus could have in our region.
Our clinical leadership teams continue to closely monitor the situation and put procedures in place to protect patients, visitors and staff should a person — who meets current criteria for suspicion of COVID-19 — visit an Inspira facility. Our facilities are following the most current guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities to appropriately screen, isolate and manage patients who meet the criteria.
Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms should seek care as they normally would, immediately alerting the health care facility or health care provider if they have travelled to the affected areas within the past 30 days; or have been in close contact with someone who has been under investigation for, or is a confirmed case of, COVID-19.
Anyone concerned that they or a loved one might be displaying clinical distress (such as breathing difficulties) should call 9-1-1 as they normally would. For general questions about the coronavirus, the New Jersey Poison Control Center has experts available to answer your questions. The number is 1-800-222-1222.
It’s important to understand that this situation continues to evolve. For the most current information about COVID-19 please visit the CDC website.
You Can Take Basic Precautions to Reduce Your Risk of the New Coronavirus
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. They include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings, such as at home or in a health care facility.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection (sneezing, coughing, runny nose, etc.) you should observe “respiratory etiquette.”
- Sit as far from others as possible
- Cover your face when sneezing or coughing
- Avoid touching others
- Wear a mask if it is comfortable for you
- Please respond courteously to other patients and to medical staff who communicate with you concerning these steps
Remember, staying informed and taking basic precautions are your best defense against COVID-19. I urge you to stay informed and follow the measures outlined above.