Siouxland hospitals prepare for coronavirus

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Many people have been going out and buying face masks to protect themselves from the virus. Health officials said that, if you're exposed to the virus, the masks won't keep you from getting sick.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) –The coronavirus is being blamed for six deaths in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus is here and cases are likely to multiply.

Many people have been going out and buying facemasks to protect themselves from the virus.

Health officials said that, if you’re exposed to the virus, the masks won’t keep you from getting sick.

It’s one of many things to think about as the virus spreads in the U.S.

“It’s kinda scary but I think it’s a little bit overblown. I think numbers from China aren’t something we can really rely on,” said John Anson, a Siouxland resident.

John Anson, like many other Siouxlanders, has been watching as the virus continues to grow around the world.

Tyler Brock, deputy director of the Siouxland District Health Department, said he expects the coronavirus to hit Siouxland soon.

“I will not be surprised if we get cases. Again, it’s getting harder and harder with so many regions of the world seeing increased cases,” said Brock.

MercyOne already has rooms reserved for people who may be infected with the virus.

Dr. Larry Volz, MercyOne Chief Medical Officer, said they are prepared for what may lie ahead.

“Mostly it’s training our staff. We need to make sure all our nurses and frontline staff have all been trained and they have been diligently trained since we started this,” said Dr. Volz.

Dr. Volz said while it’s important to be prepared, it’s also important not to panic.

“Use common sense, make sure you are washing your hands and avoiding other sick contacts. Those patients that at higher risk need to be more cautious but really don’t panic around this. If this changes over time, we may have to change guidance on that but this is an equivalent risk to the flu,” said Volz.

“I just think it is good to be proactive. Just because we don’t see it here doesn’t mean it won’t show up here,” said Peggy Anson, a Siouxland resident.

MercyOne is also asking people who think they might have the coronavirus to call before going to the hospital or urgent care. That will make it easier for the hospital to separate possible coronavirus patients from other patients.

UnityPoint-St.Luke’s also shared what steps they are currently taking to prevent the virus from spreading:

What steps the community should be taken as a precaution and steps to prevent getting this: We recommend following the CDC’s guidelines related to travel to and from affected geographic areas identified by the CDC, as well as general infection prevention practices, such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick, frequently washing your hands with soap and water, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.What local hospitals are doing to prevent the diseases

While there are currently few U.S. cases, we take novel COVID-19 very seriously, as we would with any global health situation: Our medical staff is following CDC guidelines for screening,vtesting and infection control as related to novel coronavirus. When possible, we will provide timely updates in partnership with our state departments of public health.

From UnityPoint-St. Luke’s

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