MDH addresses COVID-19 concerns; provides tips

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MCDONOUGH CO., Ill. (NEWS3) — McDonough District Hospital is addressing concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak to help prevent the spread of any illness.

MDH officials said there are no current cases of the coronavirus in the area, but hospital staff are working with the McDonough County Health Department to assess the situation nationwide and make preparation if there is a potential outbreak locally. MDH Chief Medical Officer Edwin Card said it’s important to properly educate the staff and community on protocols.

“What we have seen from the numbers so far, the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 will recover uneventfully. In most cases, it does not require hospitalization but rather self-isolation at home,” Card said. “As a hospital, we have isolation protocols already in place and have for a long time. We are prepared should COVID-19 arise in our community. I think COVID-19 is a cause for concern, but not a panic.”

Officials said any person experiencing symptoms that include a fever, cough or shortness of breath should call their primary care provider. If they do not have a primary care provider, they advise to call MDH Family Clinic or MDH Convenience Clinic at 309-837-6937. Listed below are precautions you can take to prevent the spread of illness and requirements for patients to be released from isolation.

Precautions and preventive tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer comprised of at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • If you feel ill, stay at home unless it’s to seek medical care. If you feel ill and must be out in public, wear a protective mask.
  • If you are NOT sick, you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick. Facemasks may be in short supply, and should be saved for caregivers.

Requirements to be released from isolation:

  • The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough.
  • The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
  • Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is important to remember that COVID-19 is still not as common as influenza A or B.  The CDC said there have been 34 million cases of influenza, 16 million influenza medical visits, 350,000 hospitalized for influenza, and 20,000 resulting deaths. In total, there have been 1,215 cases of COVID-19 nationwide and 36 resulting fatalities.

McDonough District Hospital, the McDonough County Health Department, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, IDPH and the CDC are constantly monitoring the situation. Updates are posted daily on the CDC website.