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Hospitals preparing in case coronavirus appears in Central Indiana

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jan 30, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — As cases of coronavirus spread, the infection control team at Franciscan Health is getting ready.

While the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a national health emergency, the Indiana State Department of Health reported there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Indiana. A patient in Porter County is in isolation and being monitored as doctors wait for test results from the Centers for Disease Control.

"Understandably, there is a lot of concern around the globe," Dr. Christopher Doehring said. "We have actually had a scenario that played out that we were concerned enough to implement some of those types of precautions with our staff. That was a good dry run, if you will."

Doehring said the patient ended up being diagnosed with the flu, but anyone who comes to the hospital with a fever, cough or complaints of shortness of breath — all symptoms of coronavirus — they will go through a screening process.

"We would have some key historical questions one of which, 'Have you been in that area China?' The other would be, 'Have you been around someone who is confirmed to have the illness?'" Doehring said.

Franciscan Health is prepared to isolate patients suspected of having coronavirus. During treatment, hospital staff would be required to wear a face mask and eye wear.

"At this point, that is really a remote risk in our community," Doehring said.

While they are taking precautions at Franciscan Health for coronavirus, doctors said people in Central Indiana should be more concerned about cases of the seasonal flu.

"We have had a few dozen deaths in Central Indiana from the flu, around the country nearly 10,000. As far as here and now, what we really need to be concerned about and more focused on is still the flu season," Doehring said, adding that it is not too late to get a flu shot.

In order to protect yourself from the flu or coronavirus, remember to wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and ultimately avoid contact with those who are sick.

"Be vigilant about coronavirus or any infectious disease that comes from around the world," Doehring said. "Keep up with it know what you need to know, but don't over react or certainly go into panic mode by any means."

Taylor University cancels business semester in China

The coronavirus has also affected Taylor University's plans for a semester-long business program in Xian, China.

Taylor's dean of international programs Dr. Charles Brainer said the decision was made after the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department announced Level 3 travel restrictions to China.

Taylor officials said two students and a faculty member who have been in China this month are being held off-campus for 14 days, the incubation period for coronavirus.