Infection prevention and control policies are implemented year-round at Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH). Since it is flu season, patients can expect active screening at Registration for any flu-like symptoms. Infection control measures are already heightened because of flu season.
The safety of all patients and staff is of the utmost priority and since the outbreak of the coronavirus, our staff at Registration and at Emergency Triage are screening patients specifically about symptoms related to the virus, as well as people who have travelled to/from China.
SMH has been in contact with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, other hospitals, and provincial representatives to ensure proper monitoring and surveillance of the virus, and how we can work together to manage any potential cases. Communication between the hospitals and public health is regular and ongoing.
If you feel ill after travelling to or being near someone who has travelled to an at-risk area, contact the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (705) 721-7520 or a physician/health care provider and inform them of your travel history and symptoms.
There is currently no cure, but the symptoms can be managed and treated. Most people with coronavirus illness will recover on their own and are advised to drink plenty of fluids, and rest.
The risk of contracting the virus is low to our local community at this time and SMH continues to stress the importance of flu prevention and treatment.
Visit the Ministry of Health coronavirus website for full information about the virus, how to protect yourself and what the province is doing to prepare at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov.
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit: www.smdhu.org
What is coronavirus?
The coronavirus comes from the same family that can lead to the common cold. The human coronavirus is the same virus that caused the outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012-2017.
Coronaviruses are known for their ability to change and evolve, similar to the yearly influenza virus.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, pneumonia and generally felling unwell. If the infection travels to the lungs, a person could have trouble breathing.
When did it begin?
The first cases were reported near the end of December and connected to people who worked at, or visited, a seafood market in Wuhan China, which has since closed. Experts suspect that the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but that it may also be mutating. Mutations in viruses is common, and this can make the virus stronger and more contagious.
Have there been reported cases in Ontario?
It is not unexpected that cases will be found in Ontario, and other areas outside of China. To date there are cases in Canada, France, the US and Australia. There have been three confirmed cases in Ontario and a total of eight confirmed cases in Canada.
The Ministry of Health anticipates in the coming weeks there may be more cases identified in Ontario, other parts of Canada or other countries who have individuals with travel history to the impacted area or other significant links.
Have people died from COVID-19?
There have been deaths associated with the virus. On examination of the first 17 deaths in China, the deaths were thus far largely older men, many with underlying health problems. At this time, medical experts have found that the disease did not appear to be killing young and otherwise healthy people.
How are patients screened for COVID-19 at SMH?
All patients that come in to the Emergency Department are triaged by a nurse. Part of the triage is an Infection Control Screening which has specific questions that would assist in determining a person under investigation (PUI).
All patients that are registering at the Hospital have an Infection Control Screening that addresses the potential for infectious diseases, such as 2019-n-CoV. Staff at Registration have been provided information related to the criteria for a potential Person Under Investigation (PUI). If a person at Registration is identified, the person would be requested to put a mask on, and would be guided to the Emergency Triage area.
Coronavirus screening for both the Emergency Department and Registration is as follows:
AND any of the following:
What about visitors and others that are not screened?
At this time there are no restrictions to people entering the Hospital. There is signage at the door asking people to put a mask on if they have respiratory symptoms and does ask about travel.
Some things to keep in mind to decrease your risk of infection, are: