By Candice Smith, MSN, CCRN, Chief Nursing Officer

The World Health Organization announced today that it considers the “coronavirus” a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. As of Jan. 30, there are 7,819 confirmed cases around the world, with most of these in China. There are 6 confirmed cases in the U.S., none of which are in Texas.

Illnesses from people infected with the virus have ranged from people being mildly sick to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath.

As with all viruses that can be spread person-to-person, the tried-and-true hygiene practices our grandmothers taught us still hold:

  • 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 with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • 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.

I want to reassure our community that Hereford Regional Medical Center has infection prevention and infection control, procedures and practices in place. We will take every precaution necessary to protect our healthcare professionals, patients and visitors. We also get up-to-date information from the Texas Department of State Health Services on the virus outbreak. As a hospital, we are prepared for emergencies and crises of all types, including disease outbreaks.

We will update the community as the coronavirus situation evolves or official recommendations change. For now, though, stick to what works regarding illness prevention, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. If you are ill, please call 806-364-7512 to make an appointment with our clinic.

Stay well.

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