SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Press Release) – Avera is aware that people in the United States are beginning to be concerned about COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus could now spread within communities among people who have not traveled to China, Italy and other sites.
Avera is closely monitoring the progress of the virus. The region served by Avera has not had a confirmed case of the virus. To ensure that we are prepared, along with health systems across the country, Avera is following established protocols and is implementing additional precautions to protect our patients, employees and communities.
“We know that COVID-19 is highly transmissible, meaning that it can spread from person to person within a community. With confirmed cases elsewhere in the United States, we must be prepared for that situation when the virus may reach our area. Guidance from the CDC tells us that the risk to our communities in the U.S. is low. Yet we as a health system are being vigilant to ask travel history questions and be prepared to identify, isolate and inform should a patient present with symptoms,” said Jawad Nazir, MD, with Avera Medical Group Infectious Disease Specialists.
The CDC offers the following tips to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
If you are feeling sick, follow the below tips to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Avera is in ongoing contact with the CDC for the latest updates and recommendations regarding COVID-19. As part of our emergency preparedness practices, Avera is planning for how we will care for possible cases of the virus, and we’re s establishing task forces to inventory needed supplies and equipment.
Through our extensive telemedicine services, Avera eCARE® is also preparing to assist all locations in identifying patients as they come into our emergency departments, clinics and long-term care facilities.
“Our goal is to provide the best possible care while doing everything we can to protect our patients and communities from the spread of COVID-19 ,” said Kevin Post, DO, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Medical Group.
For more information on COVID-19 and how the CDC and states in the Avera footprint are preparing for possible cases, please visit the following sites:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention resources