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Coronavirus Precautions: Mount Sinai Brooklyn Has Plans In Place To Treat Potential Patients

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Hospitals are getting ready to treat patients if the coronavirus hits our area.

Warnings to wash hands, cover your cough and wear masks are plastered at entrances to area hospitals.

Dr. Waleed Javaid is the director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Brooklyn.

"The way we have been actually preparing for several weeks now is that it is going to happen," he said.

At the hospital, they know there's a good chance they'll treat a patient with the potentially deadly novel coronavirus sooner than later.

"Has the staff expressed any nerves about dealing with this?" CBS2's Jessica Layton asked.

"Absolutely," Javaid said. "Everybody has the same level of concern."

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Latest | Guidance For Travelers | NY Health Dept. | NY Hotline: 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Department Of Health Guidance For Parents | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Hotline: 1-(800)-222-1222

Thursday, CBS2 got an inside look at their precautions and plan.

Within minutes of walking through the emergency department doors, patients are asked about their symptoms. If the nurse in triage decides there's any risk of coronavirus at all, the person is immediately brought to an isolation room.

That means anyone else in the waiting room would have extremely limited exposure to a potentially infected person.

"We do not want anybody to get exposed. That is a big goal," Javaid said.

CORONAVIRUS: Hundreds In New York Asked To Isolate Themselves, Including 112 On Long Island, 8 In Westchester

For the staff, that means any doctor or nurse who goes in that negative-pressure isolation room to talk to or treat the patient will suit up in a very specific way.

First, the contact protection gown.

"It basically preventing or eliminating the possibility of contact-related infection," Javaid said.

Next, the N95 respirator mask that's in such high demand right now. Then, the heavy-duty plastic face shield.

"It protects his mucus membranes, which are like his eyes and other areas that could get contaminated," Javaid said.

And of course, the gloves that go over the gown.

If County Health advises the patient needs to be tested, Javaid says, "We'll start with the swab. There's other testing, blood testing."

The results from the CDC are supposed to take 48 hours.

"Things are changing very, very rapidly, and we are trying to make sure we stay ahead of it," Javaid said.

A consuming amount of time, energy and concern required for an infection that has yet to be confirmed in New York City.

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