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UCHealth Conducts Drill, Prepares For Potential Coronavirus Patients

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - The University of Colorado Hospital is conducting a drill to prepare for the spread of the new coronavirus.  So far, there are no confirmed cases in Colorado, but tests have yet to come back on four patients who may have been infected.

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(credit: CBS)

UCHealth said it's always prepared to deal with a potential outbreak, however in light of warnings from the Centers for Disease and Prevention, it's running exercises to specifically address what should happen if a patient with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 gets admitted.

One of the top concerns with this virus is how quickly it is spreading.  Health experts are not entirely sure how it's transmitted.  In some cases in China, even doctors and nurses are contracting the virus.

As part of the exercise, UCHealth staffers will work quickly to isolate a patient who may be presenting symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone coming to the hospital will be asked if they're traveled outside of the U.S., in particular to China.  Staff will then look for symptoms, paying close attention to the respiratory flow.

If a patient is showing symptoms they're kept to their room.  The hospital currently cannot test for this virus, however, if there are concerns UCHealth will contact the state health department, and the CDC may then be notified.

"Now it if it comes back and the patient does have it. What we'll do is, we'll isolate them in our special unit. We're one of the few adult centers here in the state that has a bio containment unit. And we have staff that are able to handle any of our highly infectious diseases, whether it's coronavirus or ebola. And then we'll manage them and care for there until they're ready to get discharged," Clinton Anderson, UCHealth Emergency Manager, said.

UCHealth also mentioned they've dealt with outbreaks before.  Back in 2005 the medical group mobilized against SARS, another type of deadly coronavirus.  And a reminder, UCHealth experts said, no one should be worried to go to the hospital.


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