TCHC is prepared in the event of coronavirus outbreak

The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus, and Tri-County Health Care has policies and procedures in place in the event of a local outbreak, according to a Tri-County Health Care news release. No cases have been confirmed in Minnesota at this time.

TCHC remains proactive and prepared for any contagious disease and will follow the same protocol with the coronavirus. Patients who are experiencing symptoms–fever, coughing, shortness of breath–and have traveled from China or have been in contact with someone that has traveled from China in the last 14 days are asked to call ahead. This allows TCHC to take additional steps to keep all patients and staff safe. Registration at TCHC will also ask new travel questions like if patients have traveled from China, have been in contact with someone who may have been in coronavirus affected areas and to report symptoms they are experiencing. Patients may also be asked to wear a mask, similar to when presenting with influenza-like illnesses.

The Minnesota Department of Health is conducting weekly calls with health organizations for updates on the coronavirus. In addition, MDH suggests taking the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu, which include washing your hands, staying home when sick and covering your cough.

The risk for contracting the new strain of the coronavirus identified in China remains low for United States residents. As of Friday, there were 9,821 reported cases worldwide with a 2% fatality rate, according to a TCHC news release.

For comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 15 million people in the U.S. have gotten sick with influenza since October. More than 150,000 have been hospitalized and there have been more than 8,000 deaths, according to a TCHC news release. Check with your local pharmacies or health care facilities to find out where you can receive the influenza vaccine.

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