Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say they expect the coronavirus to continue to spread throughout the United States and other regions of the Caribbean. Last week the Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vazquez declared a state of emergency in the island as more suspicious cases of the virus continue to arise. The virus, which can cause a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, is believed to be spread through respiratory droplets between close contacts. That means there are certain steps medical practices should take to contain it, based on past infectious disease outbreaks.
Here’s 4 ways you can prepare your medical practice:
- Designate a “point person” in your team to monitor updates from the CDC and state and local health agencies.
- Follow the CDC’s patient assessment protocol for early disease detection. If a patient call to schedule an appointment for an acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever, cough, and difficulty breathing), he or she should be screened using the Criteria to Guide Evaluation of Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. We recommend that you check this CDC website daily for any updates in screening criteria.
- Ask patients with fever, cough, myalgias, or shortness of breath if they have recently traveled to countries experiencing coronavirus outbreaks or been in contact with others who have had a suspicious case of COVID-19 or similar symptoms.
- Wash hands on the way in and out of each exam. Follow CDCs notification on this matter.
The CDC website also a COVID-19 page with information for health care professionals: COVID – 19 CDC Resource Page.
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