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Andalusia Health prepping for coronavirus, if needed

Andalusia Health is making preparations needed to protect its staff and patients from the coronavirus, if needed.

Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to Americans to begin preparing for the spread of the coronavirus in the country after several additional countries have reported the flu-like virus.

Merrill South, spokesperson for Andalusia Health said, “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people; numerous other coronaviruses circulate among animals.  At Andalusia Health, we are requiring that anyone who presents to the hospital with flu-like symptoms wear a mask. We are taking extra precautions at all access points to the facility, monitoring patients and potential patients for temperatures, cough and shortness of breath – symptoms of coronavirus as defined by the Center for Disease Control.  Our staff continues to observe excellent hand hygiene and disinfect objects and surfaces.  We continue to coordinate with the Alabama Hospital Association and other state and national entities to ensure that we are protecting and caring for our community.  As it is our mission to make communities healthier, it is also important that we protect them from harmful outbreaks such as this.”

The announcement from the CDC signifies a change in tone for the U.S. health agency, which initially focused its efforts to stop the coronavirus from entering the U.S. and quarantining those traveling from China.

“The data over the past week about the spread in other countries has raised our level of concern and expectation that we are going to have community spread here,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC head of respiratory diseases, told reporters on a conference call.

The CDC said that businesses, schools and families should begin having discussions about the possibility that their lives may be disrupted if the virus begins spreading within U.S. communities.

So far, worldwide, some 81,396 people have been diagnosed with the virus, and 2,771 people have died.

On the flipside, 30, 359 have recovered.

There are 60 total reported cases in the United States.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)

Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include:

• Fever

• Cough

• Shortness of breath