There are a number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus ( COVID-19) within the United States.  At WHS, our detailed emergency preparedness plan is constantly updated as illnesses such as the Coronavirus occur. There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus which has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and presents as a respiratory illness which spreads mainly from person-to-person. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. What should you do if you get sick? Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing COVID-19 symptoms and the symptoms are light to moderate, Washington Health System does not recommend that you immediately come to the Emergency Room. To reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others, we encourage you to utilize the WHS Virtual Care platform where a doctor can quickly evaluate you via smart phone, tablet or computer.  Washington Health System is dedicated to protecting the health of all of our community members by reducing the risk of exposure whenever possible. To utilize our WHS Virtual Care platform visit whs.org/virtualcare. If you prefer to see your primary care provider, please call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms. They will decide whether you need to be seen in the office or tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill are able to isolate at home. Should your symptoms worsen, please seek medical attention at the closest emergency room. Emergency symptoms include:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
When possible, notify the hospital ahead of time or as you enter the building in order to help reduce exposure to other patients and staff. Know when to get emergency help, and call 911 if needed. As always, please follow standard hygiene practices to prevent illness. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. In compliance with our infectious disease protocols, we will remain vigilant and continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. Your health and the health of our community are continuously our priority.