Guadalupe Regional Medical Center COVID-19 Update: March 10, 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 10, 2020 — The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed 12 total cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Fort Bend County and Harris County Texas. These cases are all related to voyages on a Nile River cruise in Egypt. Public health departments are working to identify any close contacts of those patients while they were sick so they can be isolated and monitored for symptoms and tested, if needed.

With this in mind GRMC would like to communicate to our community some facts as they are known at the moment to educate and coordinate care.

COVID-19 Overview: 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.

Testing and Treatment: 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.

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 may seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

Local Preparedness: 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 via a daily call and are monitoring Centers for Disease Control recommendations as this scenario unfolds. GRMC is also partnering with STRAC (South Texas Regional Advisory Council) on emergency preparedness and communicating with the local medical community.

How to Stay Well: 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 most symptomatic (the sickest).

What to Do If You Are Sick: If you develop flu-like symptoms and are not short of breath, the best thing you can do for yourself and your community is stay home. You may call your health care provider for advice. If you are feeling severely ill, and especially if you are having trouble breathing, do not delay seeking medical care. If you are unable to present to a local emergency room, call 911. Warn the 911 dispatcher you have risks for having the coronavirus (travel to China, Italy, South Korea, Iran or Japan in the last 14 days, or close contact with someone proven to have the virus).

What to Do if you Have Exposure Risks: If you have risks for catching the virus due to recent travel or exposure to a known case, but you are not sick at all, you have options. If your local Health Department asks you to stay home on isolation, that’s what you should do. You will likely be home for at least 14 days after the potential exposure. You may be asked to take your temperature twice a day, and report to your doctor or the health department if you feel sick or develop a fever. If you plan to visit your doctor inform their staff ahead of time about your symptoms as they may alter their usual visit practices during this time.

If you have risks based on travels or exposure, you can elect to stay home for 14 days after your exposure. If you become ill, you should stay at home, unless you become severely ill and/or develop shortness of breath. If you become severely ill, call 911 as advised above.

Stay Informed: Guadalupe Regional Medical Center is committed to providing our community with updated information as warranted during this challenging time.

Additional Information about the Coronavirus may be accessed and the following sites: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Information regarding the Novel Coronavirus is also available in American Sign Language at this link: http://sat.ahasalerts.com/ActiveAlerts.aspx?id=1334