You and Covid – 19

You and Covid – 19

On February 29th, Washington State was declared a state of emergency by Governor lnslee in response to new cases of COVID-19. How Forks Community Health Systems is intimately involved in providing medical care and what the current recommendations are will be covered; however, it is of interest to learn more about COVID-19.

COVID-19 is from the Family Coronaviradae, a group of viruses of which there are actually hundreds. Recently, America encountered similar outbreaks from this coronavirus group in the form of SARS (2002) and MERS (2012). In December 2019, this unique variant emerged from Wuhan, China. In the short time since it began its spread from the point of origin, the CDC, National Institutes of Health, and various research universities have mapped the virus, studied how it is transferred from human to human, and learned much of its effect upon the body. Currently, research dollars are being fast tracked into investigating countermeasures to the virus, including a vaccination and possible anti-viral treatments.

While such efforts are underway, slowing or halting transmission is the primary goal for public health and is driving the decision to isolate patients with a positive test-whether they need to be hospitalized or are feeling well enough to be self-quarantined until they are well. Simple measures of 20-second handwashing, not touching your face with unclean hands, and avoiding contact with sick persons are very effective in preventing the spread. Washington State’s Department of Health has a lengthy and informative website for the public to read on how to protect yourselves, how to prevent spread, and travel advisories, to name a few.

Forks Community Health Systems is working closely with the Clallam County Health Department in facing COVID-19. We have formed a COVID-19 team which is meeting each day and is able to attend a twice-a-day web conference with the health department for the latest updates and to keep each other apprised of any critical needs. The hospital and Bogichiel clinic have prepared COVID-19 nurse/doctor teams to triage and examine potential coronavirus patients to determine if the patient needs to enter the facility for care. The exam site is isolated and is properly disinfected before the next patient enters. Our hospital cafeteria is closed to the public to protect hospitalized patients and Long-Term Care Facility patients, who are some of our most vulnerable patients. Please note the signs for our facilities as they have clear instructions for how to seek care if you have a fever, cough, body aches, especially if you have been in an active COVID-19 area or certainly if you have been in contact with someone who is positive for the virus. We will continue accommodating any new recommendations on a daily basis, and we greatly appreciate the community’s help in the ongoing COVID-19 crises.

March 13, 2020

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.