Stop the virus: Stay home

by Nancy Zeman nzeman@prairiepress.net
Posted 3/23/20

Guidelines for testing for the COVID-19 remain stringent as screenings continue, according to Tiffany Turner, Horizon Health Chief Nursing Officer.

Turner confirmed the hospital/clinic does have a …

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Stop the virus: Stay home

Posted

Guidelines for testing for the COVID-19 remain stringent as screenings continue, according to Tiffany Turner, Horizon Health Chief Nursing Officer.

Turner confirmed the hospital/clinic does have a limited number of test kits. Patients will only be tested if they:

-Exhibit severely compromised respiratory funtion

-Exhibit severe shortness of breath

-Have problems maintaining a consistant oxygen level

-Can’t breath if talking

“No one is being tested just because they request it,” Turner said. If someone is not feeling well, they will be directed to a Horizon provider who will provide additional assesment, she said. 

Turner emphasized anyone who is not feeling well — with or without a temperature — should stay home and self-isolate. Self-isolation measures include keeping to one room in the home, like a bedroom, and designating one bathroom for the patient’s use.

Turner emphasized Horizon Health has a pandemic/disaster plan in place and has been leaning on the Center for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Heath recommendations moving forward. Those recommendations, she emphasized, have been created from Italy’s failure in that country’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“What we have learned from Italy is not to test and wait for results then quarantine,” she said. That failure allowed the virus to gain a hold and spread rapidly. “We are screening and quarantining. That’s our plan,” she said.

Turner emphasized the importance of stopping transmission of the virus. “Even if you think you have symptoms, stay home,” she said. “We are not dependent on testing. That’s a lesson learned from China and Italy.”

It is possible, she emphasized, that someone who has not been tested and exhibits mild symptoms may indeed have the virus. “That’s why it’s important to isolate in the home,” she said.

Whether a person has a positive or negative test does not change how they are treated, Turner said.

Those hospitalized will receive respiratory support. At the present, there is no magic pill or treatment for the virus.

Those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, COPD or other health issues are most suseptible to extreme cases of the virus.

Turner emphasized while those ages 60 and up are at risk,  those with underlying conditions are also at risk.

If you are not feeling well, Turner said isolate and take acetominophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.

The World Health Organization says it does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms — though medical experts say that until more research is conducted it’s better to start with acetominophen for pain and fever reduction.

In  addition to taking a fever and pain reducer, Turner recommended plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and bed rest.

Horizon Health communications director Erin Frank said Friday the medical provider has an adequate supply of PPE — personal protective equipment. “We will continue to use our medical grade items,” she said.

Both Turner and Frank urged all residents to practice social responsibility and not hoard food or other items.

Turner said the emergency planning by administration and directors at Horizon Health has paid off. “We are moving forward each day with the challenges,” she said.