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Adventist Health hospitals take steps to protect the community against Coronavirus


Friday, February 7, 2020 (Mendocino County) – While there are only 12 confirmed cases of the deadly Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) in the US, more than 30,000 people worldwide have been infected with the disease. In California so far, there are only six confirmed cases and none in Mendocino County, as of this writing. But in working with public health officials and with guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Adventist Health hospitals are taking necessary precautions and asking the community’s help to prevent the spread of the virus.

Beginning February 1, Adventist Health Howard Memorial and Adventist Health Ukiah Valley hospitals, including its 21 affiliated clinics will be screening visitors prior to entering their facilities including asking about recent travel and symptoms.

Those who have traveled to China in the last 14 days (or been in close contact with someone who has) and are experiencing the symptoms of fever and/or cough and shortness of breath will be given a mask and further evaluated by hospital staff to determine if they possibly have the novel coronavirus infection.

“While the risk is low, we are doing this out of an abundance of caution as the situation and what we know about the virus continues to evolve,” explains Sue Mason, infection prevention director at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. “We have policies and procedures in place and staff is trained on what to do. As a healthcare facility, we want to minimize any risks of spreading the virus,” she added.

Linda Givens, patient care executive for Howard Memorial explains that if a patient shows up at either hospital with symptoms of a novel coronavirus, they would be immediately taken to an isolation room in the hospital to prevent the disease from spreading. “We have negative pressure rooms, which are specifically designed to prevent airborne contaminants from drifting to other areas and contaminating patients, staff and sterile equipment. Once they have been isolated, we will perform some tests and if testing is positive, the patient would remain in isolation until the test showed the virus had cleared out of the patient's system,” she shares.

As the situation evolves, both hospitals are also monitoring and working closely with Mendocino County health officials and are prepared to implement additional procedures that may come recommended by the State or through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Per the California Department of Public Health, there is no evidence of person to person transmission in the general public in California. As with any virus, including with the influenza virus during flu season, CDPH recommends the public take the following steps to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses:

  • Washing hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick is good practice to reduce the risk of infection with a number of different viruses.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people when sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.