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COVID-19 preparedness at CHCS

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported this week that a patient with novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has surfaced in Kansas, and we want to share what we are doing to prepare in case we see COVID-19 cases. We also want to make sure that patients know what to do if they suspect they may have COVID-19 and know where to find the best information.

Our associates are working diligently to ensure that Community HealthCare System is prepared should the contagious respiratory virus spread to our area. We have established a working group to keep abreast of developments, share information, and reach out to our national, state, county, and local community partners. We have procedures, supplies, and equipment in place to care for patients while protecting our personnel. We are also working to protect residents at Eastridge and St. Marys Manor nursing homes and Redbud Plaza Assisted Living by informing visitors and asking them to choose another time to visit if they are ill or have a cough.

In addition, we are closely following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, or KDHE. That guidance has helped us develop a way to help identify patients who may have COVID-19. When patients call to schedule appointments or come to our facilities, we will ask several questions as a way to screen patients if they have fever and lower respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath) or fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness such as pneumonia. The questions include the following.

  • Do you have a history of travel from a CDC Alert Level 2 or Warning Level 3 travel advisory within 14 days of symptom onset? Please note that right now, these countries are China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea. The situation is fluid, but CDC will keep travel precautions updated.
  • Have you had close contact with a person that has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and developed symptoms within 14 days of contact?

If a patient answers yes to one of these questions or if the patient answers no but has fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness and does not have influenza or any other diagnosis, we will work with the patient on further steps.

If you meet any of the criteria outlined above, you should call your clinic during business hours. After hours, please call Community HealthCare System at 785-889-4274 and press 2 for hospital as directed in the menu.

If you are looking for reliable resources on COVID-19, please go to the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center or visit the CDC COVID-19 website. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. Be sure to wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and to avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, make sure you stay home, cover coughs and sneezes, wear a facemask to protect others, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about novel coronavirus.


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