This is a message from Luis Puentes BSN, MA, MBA, PHRN, administrator of the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Operations at Lehigh Valley Health Network. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
A new coronavirus (designated 2019-nCoV) has been identified as the cause of an influenza-like respiratory illness in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The significance of this is the lack of immunity in the world’s population and the lack of a vaccine, and its early spread inside and outside of China.
The health and safety of our patients, staff, and our community is our priority. LVHN has been taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff regarding the new coronavirus since Friday, January 17, 2020, when the first health alert from the Centers for Disease Control was published.
Enhanced surveillance was initiated for travelers from China or other Asian countries in the preceding 14 days who may have fever and respiratory symptoms and sought care.
Upon arriving at any LVHN facility, a patient with suspected coronavirus would be placed in a protected environment separate from other patients while receiving appropriate medical care.
Local and State Health Departments would be notified immediately of potential cases of the new coronavirus for confirmatory testing.
These initial prudent measures may well need adjustments as the outbreak evolves, so LVHN is closely following guidance from CDC/WHO and PA Dept of Health.
There is no need to wear masks when going outside to try to prevent this new virus in the US at this point. Those with any respiratory infection though should cover their cough and practice frequent hand washing.