What You Need to Know
With new developments in the news on a daily basis, we understand there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the coronavirus and what your risk may be. During this time of uncertainty, please be assured your health and safety is our number one priority. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will be providing updates as new information becomes available.
As of March 8, 2020 at 5:30 p.m., four people tested positive for COVID-19 in Kentucky. For the latest information on COVID-19 activity in Kentucky, visit www.kycovid19.ky.gov.
Kentucky's COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-722-5725
What is the COVID-19
COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a new coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you develop these symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider.
We are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) updates U.S. case counts regularly on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. See the current U.S. case count of COVID-19.
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness including older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on supplies; take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others; when you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick; limit close contact and wash your hands often, and avoid crowds. If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor.
How is St. Claire HealthCare dealing with COVID-19?
St. Claire HealthCare is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for screening, risk assessment, evaluation, treatment, and infection control. We have a mandatory screening process in place and have created ‘sick’ and ‘well’ waiting areas in the Emergency Department and all Family Medicine locations to reduce the spread of illness, and are now screening patients by phone when calling to schedule appointments for care at all locations.
St. Claire Regional Medical Center is tightening enforcement of its existing visitation policy and requiring all visitors to enter through the hospital’s main entrance where they will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. Visitors under 12 and anyone with flu-like symptoms will be asked not to enter the hospital. Stricter restrictions may be enforced in the Emergency Department, ICU/PCU, etc.
Should I go to my scheduled doctor's appointment?
With school closures and cancelations of public events across the state, many are left wondering if they should keep their scheduled doctor’s appointments. Please know we are doing everything we can to protect our patients and our community during this time of uncertainty. We don’t recommend avoiding or postponing necessary medical treatment because of concerns over the coronavirus. We are taking every precaution to protect the health and safety of our patients, but if you are unsure if you should keep your upcoming appointment, call and talk with your healthcare provider before canceling to discuss the best options for you and your health.
How can I protect myself?
The best way to prevent illness from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to this virus. People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest, but it is possible to spread the illness before showing symptoms. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within about 6 feet) or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly eye.
Take preventative actions:
- Practice social distancing by avoiding crowds, working from home if possible, and staying about 6 feet from others.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces including faucets, door knobs, light switches, tables, etc.
Prepare your home in case you may need to self-isolate for up to 14 days.
- You do not need to wear a facemask if you are NOT sick unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should
be saved for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?
Please take steps to protect the health of others.
- If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, or shortness of breath, self-isolate at home.
- Monitor your symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your illness worsens. (St. Claire HealthCare encourages you to call ahead and let your provider know about your symptoms before you arrive so precautions can
be taken to avoid the spread of illness.)
- Limit close contact with others as much as possible (close contact is about 6 feet).
- Wear a facemask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid sharing personal household items and wash items like dishes and bedding thoroughly with soap and water after use.
- Don’t discontinue self-isolation without first talking with your healthcare provider.