Special Coronavirus training offered for health providers

Published 3:31 pm Friday, March 13, 2020

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Part of Memorial Hospital and Manor’s plan and preparations for dealing with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) involves special training for medical care providers.

Lee Johnson, RN, who oversees the quality care department at the hospital, prefaced his comments by saying, “First of all, I am no expert on the Covid-19; but I use the information provided by the CDC in my training sessions.”

He provides the facts and history of the types of flu seen over the years; then gives the updates on the growth of Coronavirus –Covid 19, that includes a world map showing all the countries, states, etc. with the number of identified cases.

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Special direct patient care precautions are then addressed. With regular flu, there are droplet precautions taken by providers who wear surgical masks and gloves and outer protective outer-garments. Johnson then describes a stepped-up procedure whereby this particular virus calls for air-borne precautions. Those who have been identified as having the virus are asked to wear a mask and are placed in a “negative pressure room,” described as having a ventilation system with a suction device that prevents the escape of air from the room out into the halls. Patients with Tuberculosis are routinely confined in negative pressure rooms, according to Johnson.

He assures that Memorial Hospital has negative pressure rooms available in the Emergency Department, ICU, and Medical Surgery; and the maintenance department has a portable filtering system that can be used to create additional rooms, if necessary.

Again, he emphasized that persons should always call ahead. “Call the main hospital number 229-246-3500, and you will be directed to a person who will take you through the routine questions.” Those are: Do you have fever, are you coughing, are you having trouble breathing, have you traveled or been in contact with anyone who has the virus or has just returned from travel to a country that has Coronavirus Covid-19?  Johnson said the number one factor is fever. If the patient is directed to come to the hospital they will be met in their automobiles in the parking lot for tests. “There are testing kits available, but they must first rule out the flu or strep throat,” he added. Coronavirus test kits are sent away, with results back in two to four days.

As of Friday, Johnson said there had been only one test performed at the hospital and it was negative.

Johnson currently only provides training to the hospital medical staff, although he has had requests to address other groups.

As a side note, a call made by the Post Searchlight to Decatur County EMS on Friday confirmed that they are taking all the necessary preparations that they usually do, wearing masks and implementing sanitary measures.