Hospital addresses spread of coronavirus

‘I’m more afraid that I’ll die in the near future because I forgot to buckle my seatbelt’

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COURTESY OF PIXABAY

The coronavirus causes cold-like symptoms. It can spread between individuals within six feet through infected droplets.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

Gerald Early, chief medical officer of Pullman Regional Hospital spoke in a podcast about novel coronavirus, the best ways to prevent it and when to seek medical treatment for the disease. 

Early said the coronavirus is related to SARS and MERS, which are other serious respiratory infections that spread in 2003 and 2012, respectively. The coronavirus causes cold-like symptoms and respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia. 

The coronavirus also has a significantly lower mortality rate than both SARS and MERS, he said.

The flu infects more people each year because it is highly contagious, Early said. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, novel coronavirus can spread between individuals within about six feet through infected droplets.

Early said the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus include hand washing, avoiding close contact with people who have respiratory infections and avoiding unprotected contact with wild and farm animals. 

Early said practicing “cough etiquette” is recommended for people who are sick. 

People who suspect they might be infected with coronavirus should seek medical attention if they experience cold-like symptoms that do not follow the normal course of a cold, Early said. 

Hospitals should practice enhanced standard infection prevention, he said. 

“The things that we normally do, but enhance that,” Early said. 

According to the Washington State Department of Health, there has been one confirmed case of coronavirus in Washington. However public risk is low because there is no evidence the virus is spreading in the state. 

“Personally, I’m more afraid that I’ll die in the near future because I’ll forget to buckle my seat belt when I drive home,” Early said. “But that doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of this infection.”

Early said the best sources for updated information about the coronavirus are the CDC and the World Health Organization websites.