Guadalupe Regional Medical Center FAQs on COVID-19: March 12, 2020

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Elizabeth McCown
Director of Risk & Legal Affairs/Public Information Officer
Guadalupe Regional Medical Center
emccown@grmedcenter.com
830.401.7314

[Seguin, Texas] March 12, 2020 —There are lots of questions in the news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. As your regional medical center, GRMC will continue to update the community as this scenario unfolds. The following information is current as of the date of this release. Please keep in mind that this situation is rapidly evolving.

What is COVID-19? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Patients with COVID 19- have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Some patients develop pneumonia and a small amount of these patients have fatal cases.

Has anyone local tested positive for COVID-19? As of this morning, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Seguin or Guadalupe County. For more information on the number of cases reported in Texas counties please see the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/news/updates.shtm#coronavirus.

What is the hospital doing to prepare for COVID-19 arriving in our community? Guadalupe Regional Medical Center is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and has a preparedness plan in place for identifying, triaging, and treating patients with suspected COVID-19. We are in close contact with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (aka TDHHS) via a daily call and are monitoring Centers for Disease Control recommendations as this scenario unfolds. GRMC is actively partnering with local emergency responders and STRAC (South Texas Regional Advisory Council) on emergency preparedness in addition to communicating with the local medical community. GRMC is ready to activate emergency response measures if necessary.

GRMC will continue to:

  • Follow updated guidance from CDC/TDHHS for the management of Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19;
  • Use CDC recommended methods of disinfecting our facility with a focus on high-touch areas;
  • Take care of our patients and staff by providing education on updated CDC recommendations for use of personal protective equipment and other infection control measures; and
  • Educate our community on hygiene practices that support containment.

How can people concerned about the virus get tested locally? There is not a quick and simple method to test for coronavirus widely available right now. A test for COVID-19 can only be ordered by a physician with preapproval by the Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region to ensure the patient meets Person Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing to obtain DSHS approval to test. For more information visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/healthprof.aspx or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html.

What should you do if you think you have COVID-19? If you are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you should contact your health provider. If you plan to visit your doctor or local ER, inform their staff ahead of time about your symptoms as they may alter their usual visit practices during this time.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19? Practicing proper hygiene is vital to containing the spread of COVID-19 since the illness is predominantly spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of your arm. It is important to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Forgo shaking hands with people for a while, they will understand. At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. People are thought to be the most contagious when they are they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

We encourage you to visit CDC and DHHS websites for the most updated information about corona virus.