Wayne Memorial Health System & The Coronavirus
Do I need a facemask and other Frequently Asked Questions
(Honesdale, March 3, 2020)… Wayne Memorial Hospital, Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers and Wayne Woodlands Manor Long-Term Care are all working closely with state, national and community partners to be prepared in the event the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) shows up in northeast Pennsylvania. To date, there have been no confirmed cases in the entire state, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the public take “everyday preventive actions” to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
What can I do?
· Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, do not use your hands!
- Disinfect/wipe down hi-touch surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches and cell phones. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Contain- if you are sick, stay home. Call your healthcare provider. Use your phone to stay in touch.
- Avoid close contact (within six feet) with people who are sick.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water; if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Should I wear a face mask?
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- If you have respiratory symptoms and are visiting your healthcare provider’s office, you will be asked to wear a face mask.
Why does the CDC say a facemask won’t help?
A mask does help prevent the spread of droplets from a person’s cough or sneeze, but medical specialists have said that for average members of the public, they are generally not effective. Air can get in around the edges of the mask, particularly flat surgical masks. A person is more likely to get infected by touching contaminated surfaces than from a droplet traveling through the air. A mask is recommended, however, if you are sick!
At Wayne Memorial, healthcare workers exposed to patients who are infected or are suspected of being infected with respiratory illnesses are taking all necessary precautions, including wearing masks that require special “fit” testing to be worn appropriately.
If I feel sick, should I go to the Wayne Memorial Emergency Department?
Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear two-14 days after exposure, according to the CDC as of March 3rd. The disease is spread through the air by coughs, sneezes, close personal contact with someone who is sick or a surface with a virus on it—or, occasionally, through fecal contamination.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, call your healthcare provider who can help you decide if you should be evaluated in the office or if you should go to the Emergency Department. Be sure to tell them if you have traveled outside the country or been in contact with someone who has.
Should I cancel my travel plans?
As of this date, the CDC is advising against all nonessential travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Warnings have also been posted for Japan and Hong Kong. Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information regarding specific travel areas as this information changes rapidly.
If you traveled to any of the above countries in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should contact the state health department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH and avoid contact with others.
If I am in Wayne Memorial for another reason, am I at risk of catching the virus from an infected patient?
As of this date, there are no patients at Wayne Memorial with COVID-19. However, Wayne Memorial is prepared to isolate/quarantine COVID-19 patients in what are called “negative pressure” areas. These are rooms with a ventilation system that generates negative pressure to allow air to flow into the isolation room but not escape from the room, as air will naturally flow from areas with higher pressure to areas with lower pressure, thereby preventing contaminated air from escaping the room. The technique is used to isolate patients with airborne contagious diseases like tuberculosis, measles, SARS and coronavirus.
Wayne Memorial Hospital has more than a dozen negative-air-pressure patient rooms throughout the hospital, including two in the Emergency Department.
Wayne Memorial will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and share any important information from the CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information.