PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hospitals around the region have been gearing up for a surge of patients with potential cases of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. Those patients would have to be isolated and treated with special equipment.
Doctors say, for people who are sick, they should first call their doctor unless they’re experiencing serious symptoms.
With confirmed #coronavirus in Pa @mainlinehealth is prepared with staff in protective gear to treat potential patients in negative pressure rooms. Complete coverage #cbs3 @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/g48IAImyXV
— Stephanie Stahl (@StahlCBS3) March 6, 2020
People with potential cases of COVID-19 are usually told to self-isolate in their homes. But what happens if they end up in a hospital?
It might look like a standard treatment room in an emergency department, but it’s not.
“The air inside this room is taken and vented directly outside through a special filter to make sure nobody in hospital is exposed,” said Dr. Jonathan Stallkamp, with Main Line Health.
It’s a negative pressure isolation room at Lankenau’s Emergency Department — where potential coronavirus patients would be treated.
Anybody that goes in the room is in full protective gear.
Stallkamp says quickly identifying and isolating potential coronavirus patients is critical.
“We would first evaluate to see if you even need to be in the hospital. Most patients can actually go home and be isolated at home,” he said.
So far, it appears coronavirus is dangerous, and potentially deadly, mainly for the elderly and people who are already sick. There is no treatment for the virus, just supportive care if needed.
It can be spread even when people don’t have symptoms, which are a fever and cough. To guard against infection, experts say people should be aware of something called community distancing.
“People should be apart a little bit, so ideally it’s at least three feet. The CDC is actually recommending about six feet,” Stallkamp said. “The most important thing, and I can’t stress this enough, is to wash your hands. That is the best thing to prevent you getting coronavirus.”
The virus enters the body either through the mouth, nose or eyes, which is why it’s important to not touch your face and keep your hands clean.