Self-quarantines and screenings: Local health officials take extra precautions to mitigate coronavirus threat

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Hays County Local Health Department says a few people are “under self-quarantine.”

Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider couldn’t specify how many, but said all patients are medical workers who helped treat cruise ship evacuees at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Schneider says they were all wearing protective gear but are being isolated and monitored just in case they begin to show symptoms.

All of them are members of the Texas Infectious Disease Response Unit that assisted with the return of passengers to San Antonio from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship.  At all times during their contact with potential cases, they were in full personal protective equipment and pose no risk to the general population of Hays County.

Eric Schneider, Hays County Local Health Department epidemiologist


Officials at St. David’s HealthCare say they’ve been training staff on Coronavirus response.

“All of our hospitals have done multiple drills and tabletop exercises to ensure that they would be as ready as possible for a surge of patients related to the Coronavirus,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Mitchell told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

Now, St. David’s HealthCare is stepping up safety measures.

According to Mitchell, any patient that comes in to an emergency room or stand alone emergency facility associated with St. David’s, will go through an additional screening process. The patients will be asked questions to determine if they are experiencing symptoms COVID-19.

“They’ll ask a few simple questions like if you’ve had a fever, cough, sore throat or flu symptoms,” Mitchell says.

For any patients displaying symptoms, they will be issued a face mask.

Anyone accompanying a patient displaying symptoms will be given a mask.

Additionally, any patient has recently traveled to any country the CDC has designated a level 3 country, such as China or Northern Italy, will go through a special protocol to be assessed faster and placed into a room with negative air pressure.

(CDC.GOV)

Mitchell said there is no timeline on how long the new screenings will be in place.

He says the changes aren’t in response to an increase in cases but rather in anticipation of that, especially with thousands of people set to come to the area for SXSW.

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