Coronavirus: Atrium, other hospitals add new measures for screening patients

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Area hospitals start screen for novel coronavirus

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Some area hospitals have instituted new measures to determine whether patients could be at-risk for being exposed for the new coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Atrium Medical Center in Middletown began screening patients exhibiting cold and flu symptoms about their travel history. Patients who are identified to be at risk of exposure to coronavirus will undergo additional screening, said Dr. Jill Aston, medical director of Atrium Medical Center’s Emergency Trauma Center.

If the patient has traveled to China and exhibits flu-like symptoms, the hospital and local health officials will collaborate on next steps. This procedure started Wednesday morning at all Premier Health locations, she said.

Dr. Roberto Colon of Miami Valley Hospital said the outbreak is an evolving situation that needs monitoring as health professionals learn more about how to best prevent the spread, that way officials don’t overreact or take the wrong measures.

Colon said if Premier Health physicians talk to a patient who is screened to show the right combination of travel history and symptoms, the hospital’s infection control department will then evaluate whether there’s a need to take further steps such as patient isolation.

Premier hospitals include Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center. The health network also has a physician network and other outpatient sites around the region.

Kettering Health Network, the other large hospital system in the area, also has screening protocols, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Long.

The outbreak of the virus, 2019-nCoV, started in Wuhan City, in China, in December.

2019-nCoV is part of a large family of different coronaviruses. These viruses may cause mild to severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

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