SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -This week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged communities to prepare for the possibility of the Coronavirus becoming widespread in the U.S.
There has been no reported cases in Florida, but Sarasota Memorial Hospital is preparing for what could come. The hospital is preparing by making sure they have the proper supplies, staff, and space to care for patients.
SMH will be screening every patient that comes into one of their facilities and ask about their travel history. A hospital representative said they have expanded their team of highly qualified biological specialist to deal with the virus. They are also training staff on how to direct patients to wear the proper protective gear. Designated teams have been created to deal with infected patients and areas have been mapped out to put patients in.
SMH’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Dr. Manuel Gordillo, said the only two consistent symptoms of Coronavirus have been coughing and a fever. Some people have also reported body aches, headaches, and diarrhea. Much of these symptoms are similar to other respiratory viruses.
“There’s nothing to differentiate this from others. What’s probably going to make the difference is that just like Influenza, it can be more severe, especially in certain populations. Older folks that have a lot of other illnesses, Immunocompromised, they’re probably going to be more prone to severe disease," Gordillo said.
He went on to say the Coronavirus can spread person to person through droplets from a cough or a sneeze. Those droplets can travel about six feet. A person can also catch the virus from toughing an infected surface and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
People are reminded to wash their hands and to stay home if they are sick. If a person’s symptoms are severe or if a person has a condition like a weakened immune system or chronic respiratory disease they are advised to call their doctor or hospital emergency care center for guidance.