While Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is new, preparing for responses to disasters and emergencies is not new to hospitals. Emergency preparedness training is a year-round activity for us.
We are working with the Lewis County Health Department, the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control. While we encourage the public to take extra risk precautions at this time, we all want the public to understand that most cases of COVID-19 will not mean hospitalization or even a trip to an emergency room.
With that said, while we do not anticipate a big influx of patients, we are certainly prepared. We have ample medical supplies on hand and, if needed, we will adjust staffing schedules to meet our patients’ needs. We are also taking additional preventive measures as a proactive step to mitigate risk such as closing some of the hospital inner doors with signage to remind visitors to wear a mask if they are sneezing, coughing, have a fever or a runny nose. We are also placing additional hand sanitizing stations in the facility.
The Center for Disease Control’s number-one recommendation is to take everyday preventive actions, just as you would for the flu. It is important to wash your hands, have good cough etiquette and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
The Center for Disease Control's website is a great place for in-depth information about the disease but also for day-to-day advice on healthy habits to prevent infectious diseases.