WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—Surges of panic continues to sweep overseas and across America, as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this U.S. jumps to more than 700 and the death toll reaches 28.
Several states are reporting the virus including Texas and Oklahoma. However in Wichita County, United Regional safety officer Fernando Tezaguic says they’ve been prepared for the coronavirus outbreak since early January by stocking up on essentials like face masks, gloves, gowns, face shields, soap, and of course—hand sanitizer.
There are also certain quarantine protocols in place at the hospital if a patient were to ever come in with clear warning signs.
“They would present to the ER and we would communicate with the health department,” says Tezaguic. “We would put them in an isolation room and that’s something that we have in the emergency department, whenever Ebola came out was when the hospital was doing a major construction project and we actually built in a isolation room in the emergency department.”
In fact, there are several negative isolation rooms at United Regional, to be used if a person or persons where to come in showing the reported symptoms of COVID-19, which include:
- high fever
- severe, persistent cough
- difficulty breathing
According to Tezaguic, the reason why this particular strain of coronavirus is so dangerous is because it’s brand new, therefore no one has immunity to it. They way it spreads is also a major cause for concern.
“If you’re sick, you sneeze, you cough and the droplets get on surfaces, transferred from somebody’s hand touching a service and then to your face…now you’re infected,” says Tezaguic.
Right now, United Regional is working closely with Midwestern State University, Sheppard Air Force Base and the Wichita Falls/Wichita County Public Health District to monitor the coronavirus outbreak. They also have labs set up in Tarrant County in case there’s ever a need for testing.
In the meantime, Tezaguic says the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 here in Wichita Falls is still low, and the best prevention for Texomans is awareness and taking preventative measures for more concerning things like the flu, such as:
- Washing your hands for no less than 20 secs
- Covering your mouth with your elbow when your cough or sneeze
- Wiping down surfaces you know others have been touching
- Avoiding touching your eyes, mouth, nose
- If you’re feeling sick, avoid seniors and children
- Stay at home from work or school if you’re sick
- Only use a face mask if you’re sick
Perhaps the biggest thing to remember is: don’t panic. If you have any of the symptoms we mentioned, it’s mostly likely the common cold or the flu. In that case, visit your primary care physician to ask questions, instead of rushing to the ER.