Local Hospitals Prepare for Coronavirus After CDC Warnings

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- St. Mary’s Hospital is taking precautions after the Centers for Disease Control warns of possibly more coronavirus cases appearing in the United States.

Statements from Montrose County Public Health and Mesa County Public Health confirm there are no cases of the coronavirus or COVID-19 in their respected counties or Colorado as a whole. But, healthcare professionals are taking precaution.

“We’re making sure that all of our protocols are in place to rapidly identify, isolate, and notify if we had a patient that has COVID-19,” said Erin Minnerath, Infection Prevention Manager at St. Mary’s Hospital.

St. Mary’s Hospital is the only hospital with a bio-containment unit between Denver and Salt Lake City. It has never been used. The unit is for patients with severe illnesses with high fatality rates such as Ebola, for example. Minnerath says this unit wouldn’t necessarily be needed for coronavirus treatment.

“COVID-19 is not one of these infections” said Minnerath. “Our bio-containment unit is designed to maximize infection prevention, provide high quality patient care, and maintain privacy for that special pathogen patient.”

Minnerath says St. Mary’s is equipped with rooms and units all over the hospital to contain and treat someone should there be a coronavirus case in the area.

“That patient is going to be placed in ‘reverse isolation,’ or ‘airborne precautions,'” said Minnerath. “St. Mary’s has multiple airborne isolation rooms throughout various places in the hospital at all levels of care.”

Minnerath says her department is in close communication with Mesa County Public Health to ensure there are enough supplies to handle any coronavirus outbreak. She says her department and Mesa county public health are holding a drill very soon to simulate a patient with coronavirus at St. Mary’s Hospital to help prepare staff.

Read the latest from the CDC on the coronavirus or COVID-19.

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