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What is Novel Coronavirus COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It has been diagnosed in multiple locations worldwide and has received widespread attention from public health authorities and the news media. We are closely monitoring and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are in close contact with state and local health authorities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

I think I have coronavirus or COVID-19, what do I do?

Contact your primary care physician to speak to a healthcare provider. They can determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

You should stay at home and away from others if you are sick.

What if I don’t have a primary care provider?

If you are not in an emergency situation, the best thing to do is stay at home. A call can be placed to the ED triage nurse who will assess your condition (454-9213).   In many cases, COVID-19 can be managed without emergency care. However, if your symptoms are severe and you are in an emergency situation, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Health experts are still learning about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes
  • In rare cases, contact with feces

What steps can I take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or flu?

If you are ill, stay home and rest. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.

How is Calais Regional Hospital managing the coronavirus outbreak?

CRH is following the evolving situation closely and actively preparing for potential patients.   The CRH COVID-19 workgroup has been meeting weekly since the end of January and have invited other healthcare personnel from the area to take part in the efforts.   Senior Leadership meets daily to assess changes and current needs.

Monitoring patients: CRH is monitoring patients and visitors to quickly identify those with symptoms, risk factors or potential contact with infected people. We also are preparing for the possibility of community spread within the state by providing standard face masks to patients with coughs or other symptoms when they enter our healthcare facilities. We are discouraging visitors who are sick from visiting the hospital, as we always do during flu season.

Coordinating with public health officials:  We are working closely with public health officials to monitor the spread of the virus.  We are following CDC guidance for patients and staff.

Supplies and facilities: CRH is monitoring crucial supplies like masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment and is proactively placing orders for additional supplies.