There have been recent concerns in our community about rumors of a coronavirus case at OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group. Hospital officials want to assure the public that these rumors are false. Though there are no confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at OSF HealthCare or in the state of Michigan, OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group is prepared to treat patients with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses. OSF HealthCare currently tests for several common/human coronavirus strains through a respiratory array panel. “It is important to understand that while these may all sound like the same thing, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) that you are hearing about in the media, is very different from the common strains we currently test for. We do not have a test at OSF HealthCare for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at this time and suspected cases are handled in coordination with the state,” explains Lacey Crabb, Chief Nursing Officer at OSF St. Francis. “This means, if a patient has tested positive for coronavirus through the OSF HealthCare lab, there is no need to be alarmed as these are common circulating strains.”
Should the Novel Coronavirus (CODIV-19) impact our community, hospital officials say they are ready. “We have protocols in place for isolation of patients within our facility and are well versed on the services and equipment needed in the event of such an illness,” said Nicole Pirlot, infection preventionist at OSF St. Francis. In the event of a suspected Novel Coronavirus (CODIV-19), hospital officials will be in contact with local and state Departments of Public Health to coordinate testing and the appropriate care.
Currently, the risk to the general population in the U.S. remains low, but the following considerations should be made:
- People should be prepared to stay home when they are sick.
- If you have been to a country where the virus has been identified in patients and you have symptoms, please call ahead to the urgent care or medical office so personnel will be prepared to assess you.
- Use other common-sense precautions such as frequently washing your hands and coughing into your sleeve or using a tissue and then washing hands.
- Consult your health care provider early on for the best treatment; symptoms include: fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, but also be aware of emergency warning signs that require urgent medical attention such as:
- Difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
- Not urinating
- Severe muscle pain
- Severe weakness or unsteadiness
- Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
- Worsening of chronic medical condition
OSF HealthCare has always taken a cautious approach to the spread of infectious conditions. Patients and visitors may be asked to wear surgical masks based on their presenting symptoms. At times, further evaluation is completed in rooms with special ventilation. The situation remains one that is rapidly evolving and information will be updated as it becomes available.