Questions and Answers About COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - Owensboro Health

Published on March 10, 2020

Questions and Answers About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Owensboro Health hospitals and clinics are operating as usual. Visitation policies are subject to change.

We treat sick people and have procedures in place for a safe environment of care. If you have typical cold symptoms and do not have a fever, it is in your best interest to remain at home instead of coming into a healthcare facility.

If you have fever or respiratory symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath, and have had close contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have coronavirus, please call your provider before making an appointment or visiting our hospitals or clinics.

If you are experiencing a serious illness or severe symptoms of any kind, please do not put off seeking emergency medical care due to fears of COVID-19. Delaying medical treatment could worsen symptoms or result in a life-threatening situation. In the event of a medical emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 or your doctor or visit the nearest emergency department.

If you have concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) please call:

  • Call the Owensboro Health COVID-19 Hotline (24 hours a day) at 877-888-6647 to talk to a triage nurse. If it is determined that you should be seen by a medical professional, the nurse will give you instructions on where to go and what to do.
  • Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline - 800-722-5725

What is COVID-19 ("Coronavirus")?

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease spreading globally and now in the United States. The outbreak in the U.S. is an evolving situation and it’s important to prepare for the potential spread of the virus and take precautionary measures to ensure you and your family stay well.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person Spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • 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 or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

When to seek medical care:

Some of the most common symptoms of coronavirus are many of the same symptoms of the common cold or flu – fever, cough and shortness of breath. So, it could be difficult to determine at what point to seek medical care.

As concern around the outbreak grows, review these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if you suspect you may be infected:

  • Monitor your symptoms. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g. difficulty breathing). BEFORE seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. Put on a face mask before you enter the facility (your doctor’s office may be able to provide one to you). These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
  • Calling 911. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.

How can COVID-19 spread be prevented?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. We recommend following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for prevention:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC recommendations for using a face mask.
    • The CDC recommends that people who are well wear a face mask to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about proper handwashing, see the CDC’s Handwashing website.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC also offers specific guidance for travelers.

What is Owensboro Health doing for the health and wellness of the community?

Owensboro Health maintains our commitment to healing the communities we serve throughout this challenging time.

Patients screened by the Owensboro Health COVID-19 Hotline (877-888-6647) and identified as a potential carrier will be directed to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital for drive-through testing beginning 3/18. Patients will remain in their car during testing.

Our Coronavirus Leadership Team and Hospital Preparedness Team continue to meet regularly and provide guidance on COVID-19 policies and procedures that will keep our patients, guests and team members safe. The following procedural measures have been taken at this time:

  • Updating visitor restrictions policies across all Owensboro Health locations
  • Temperature checks will be conducted on all entrants to OH buildings
  • Building entrances will be limited to ensure temperature checks are conducted
  • Restrictions have been placed on outside vendors
  • Owensboro Health public events have been cancelled through the month of March
  • The Owensboro Health Healthpark Fitness Center is closed until further notice. Outpatient therapies, EAP & counseling services, outpatient nutrition, and outpatient diabetes education will remain open for appointments and someone will be at the front desk to direct patients.
  • Providing curbside service from the Owensboro Health Regional Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy

What precautions are being taken to keep you safe?

  • All healthcare personnel and visitors are screened for COVID-19 symptoms (including fever) prior to entering the hospital or other Owensboro Health facilities
  • Everyone entering an OH facility must wear a facemask at all times
  • Personal Protective Equipment (respirators, face shields/goggles, gloves and gowns) are worn
  • Handwashing with soap and water or hand sanitizer gel is strictly enforced
  • Visitor restrictions are in place to reduce possible exposure to patients and staff. Current visitor restrictions can be found at OwensboroHealth.org/Visit.
  • All public areas are cleaned throughout the day using hospital-grade disinfectants (all patient rooms, patient care areas and equipment are thoroughly cleaned between patients using appropriate disinfectants. Additional cleaning using bleach products is completed in all rooms and areas occupied by a COVID patient)
  • Patients with COVID-19 are isolated from other patients in separate units
  • Patients scheduled for a procedure or surgery are tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours before their procedure. If they test positive, their procedure or surgery is rescheduled for their safety

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