The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China is continuing to evolve. While the immediate risk in the US is still considered low, this is a potentially serious public health threat.
A multidisciplinary task force at Englewood Health is monitoring the situation and meeting regularly to ensure we are prepared for any suspected or confirmed cases at our hospital and physician network practices. We are confident that we have the resources and capability to respond to this threat and keep our patients, visitors, and providers and staff safe.
The following information was previously published in the January 28 bulletin, sent via broadcast email. Please note updated screening criteria (clinical features and epidemiological risk).
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV
There is limited information at this time on the full range of clinical illness associated with the virus, but it is causing mild to severe symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Screening and Infection Control
All patients should be screened for the following:
|Clinical Features||&||Epidemiological Risk|
|Fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough or shortness of breath)||AND||Any person, including health care workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient within 14 days of symptom onset|
|Fever and signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath)||AND||A history of travel from Hubei Province, China within 14 days of symptom onset|
|Fever and signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) requiring hospitalization||AND||A history of travel from mainland China within 14 days of symptom onset|
A patient identified with suspected 2019-nCoV should be:
- Given a surgical mask
- Immediately isolated in a private room with the door closed, ideally in an airborne infection isolation room or a room where the exhaust is recirculated with HEPA filtration.
- Tested (follow procedure below)
- Patients with mild 2019-nCoV illness who do not require hospitalization may be discharged home and isolated in a residential setting. Additional guidance can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/guidance-home-care.html
Healthcare personnel entering the rooms should follow standard, contact, and airborne precautions and wear gown, gloves, eye protection and an N95 mask.
If you cared for a patient with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV, you should monitor yourself for symptoms. Further guidance can be found on the NJDOH website at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml
Testing and Reporting
Testing at this time is only being performed by the CDC. If a patient meets the suspect case definition, please follow these instructions for specimen collection and reporting to the appropriate health agencies.
Patients should not be sent to the emergency department for 2019-nCoV testing. Patients should only be sent the emergency department if they require acute emergent care or hospitalization due to their severity of illness. If you are sending a patient to the emergency department, have the patient wear a surgical mask and inform the receiving facility. For Englewood, the ED number is 201-894-3441.
In addition to following the infection control procedures for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV, preventive actions you can take are the same as for cold and flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Follow proper cough/sneeze etiquette.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Further Updates and More Information
We will continue to keep you updated on this situation and provide new information when available. All messages and resources will be posted on the Infection Prevention page of the ePortal (Departments – Infection Prevention). If you have further questions, please use your chain of command. The Infection Prevention team is also available as 201-894-3439 or 3676.
We also encourage healthcare workers to access the latest information on the CDC and NJDOH websites. Thank you for your support as we work to ensure the safest patient care and minimize this risk to our teams and community.