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Being Prepared for a Coronavirus Outbreak

The Novel Coronavirus has spread to Nebraska. We do not want our citizens to panic as there have only been 18 cases in our state as of 3/16/20. It has been reported that 16 of the 18 cases have been diagnosed in the Omaha area. What happens if it would spread to our local communities? Are your local medical providers aware and prepared for such an outbreak? Your hometown hospital, Webster County Community Hospital, has very knowledgeable staff that is prepared to assist in the needs and care of patients that could present with the Coronavirus.

First, CHI Health has developed a two-step process to help those in the community who are worried they may have COVID-19. The first step is to go to www.CHIHealth.com and click on “Take Questionnaire” where you will find three short questions. How those questions are answered will determine what happens next. You may be directed to more information, to CHI Virtual Care or to CHI’s Help Line. Calling that number will connect you with a CHI Health employee who will collect additional information and contact a CHI physician or advanced practice provider. The CHI health care provider will call you back within 30 minutes to determine what needs to happen next. CHI Health is waiving the $10 fee for Virtual Care visits.

Second, the Nebraska Medical Center has a Coronavirus Screening Protocol that has been distributed to all of the staff here at Webster County Hospital. There are step-by-step guidelines for the clinic staff and hospital staff to follow when assessing a patient for possible Coronavirus. We are very fortunate to have one of the best Biocontainment Units in the nation at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

You can also visit South Heartland District Health Department based in Hastings at https://southheartlandhealth.org/ for updated information concerning our local four county area.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services sends out health advisory reports to the providers and staff at the hospital. They have been keeping Webster County Hospital fully informed regarding how to screen individuals for possible Coronavirus. We can assist patients in need by phone with the information that we have available.

As you can see, the staff at Webster County Community Hospital have several resources that provide excellent guidance on how to address patients that need to be evaluated for possible Coronavirus. We definitely hope that we do not see an outbreak of the virus, but, if it would occur in our community, the hospital is here for your assistance.
Michele Durr, MD

Following is a YouTube video with a CHI Infectious Disease provider, Renuga Vivekanandan, MD.
https://youtu.be/_oaC7Mudolw

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