Although the risk to the public remains low for the Coronavirus, Calais Community Hospital has been following the lead of the Maine CDC in preparing for the possibility of cases. A work group was established last month at CCH to review processes and procedures to be instituted now and in the event of a local exposure. The work group consists of staff from nursing, lab, environmental services, infection control, quality management and more. It is a full team effort to get ready for just in case, even though the hope is that most of the plan never has to be activated.
What you can expect now if you seek treatment at the CCH ED or any of the CRMS offices are brief screening questions about symptoms and recent travel. The goal of the screenings would be to identify as quickly as possible the need to isolate a patient from other patients and the general public to reduce the risk of spreading virus.
The CCH work group follows CDC guidance for screening, testing and treatment if needed. As of this week there are currently only fourteen cases diagnosed in the United States, with the closest being in Massachusetts. Symptoms of the Coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath that can start two to fourteen days after exposure. Anyone with symptoms should wear a face mask, avoid contact with others, not travel, wash hands often, and cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms to allow the best precautions to be taken for intake to the facility. Further information and updates is available on the Maine CDC website.