Area hospitals prepared if Hoosier falls ill from coronavirus


WUHAN, CHINA – JANUARY 17: (CHINA OUT) An elderly man wears a mask while walking past the closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been linked to cases of Coronavirus, on January 17, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Local authorities have confirmed that a second person in the city has died of a pneumonia-like […]

Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A woman in Chicago is currently fighting the coronavirus in the hospital after traveling from Wuhan, China.

This is the second confirmed case in the states and in both instances, the infected patients had traveled from China.

So far, more than 800 cases of the coronavirus have been reported and at least 26 people have died in China.

According to the CDC, a man in his 30's fell ill after returning home to Washington State following a trip to Wuhan, China.

The second case is out of Chicago and is a woman in her 60’s

The CDC says she had traveled to Wuhan in December and flew home on January 13th.

Both are being treated at their local hospitals.

"Coronaviruses aren’t new to us. They’ve been around for a long time and in fact, they are so common people get them and animals," Infection Control Director at St. Vincent Ascension Christopher Belcher said.

Infection Control Director at St. Vincent Ascension Christopher Belcher says there’s no need to panic, but you should be aware.

"If you’ve come back from China or you have had close contact with someone who came back from China with respiratory systems they should get checked out. They should see if they meet the criteria to be considered a case or suspected case," Belcher said.

Several major airports have set up screenings for people traveling into the states.

"In the past, they have checked temperatures often departing from China. They will check through a camera or directly before you leave the country and on this end, it’s usually a list of questions," Belcher said.

Common symptoms include a runny nose and a headache. The CDC says it could lead to pneumonia or bronchitis.

"We don’t have treatment for any of these and again it’s been over a decade since we had a few outbreaks of coronaviruses in the world," Belcher said.

St. Vincent Ascension and area hospitals are prepared if someone falls ill with the virus.

"We’ve been prepared for it and we’re always prepared for new viruses," Belcher said.

A spokesperson for Franciscan Health released the following statement about the virus:

In response to recent reports of coronavirus in China and at least two confirmed cases in the United States, Franciscan Health physicians, nurses and other clinicians have taken proactive measures should we receive patients suspected of having contracted the virus. Stringent measures have been taken to monitor and screen patients who might have recently traveled outside of the country and potentially were exposed to the recently discovered virus.

Infection Control teams at Franciscan Health hospitals have implemented procedures with staff and have the necessary equipment to care for any patient with this illness or any other flu strains. This includes having protective barriers and isolation areas to protect staff and others from airborne exposure to the coronavirus. Further, our clinicians train year-round to respond to any potential outbreaks of infectious diseases.

As the Wuhan coronavirus is an evolving situation, Franciscan Health will continue to work with local and state public health agencies should additional measures need to be taken. Patient safety is always paramount in the protection of our patients, visitors and staff.

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