AUSTIN, Texas — Patients and visitors entering any emergency department with St. David’s HealthCare will be screened at the door in order to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus.
There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in Travis County. Austin health officials said Wednesday there are individuals being tested for the virus in Travis County, but their test results are still pending. The current risk to the public is low, Austin Public Health said.
During the press conference Thursday afternoon, St. David’s Chief Medical Officer Ken Mitchell explained that the hospital is implementing the new verbal respiratory screening starting on Thursday to protect its patients and staff members.
“They’ll ask a few simple questions like if you have a fever, cough, sore throat or flu symptoms, and if the patient answers yes, they will receive a mask," Mitchell said. "It will be a simple surgical mask.”
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In addition, any family member or visitor with the patient will also receive a mask.
“This is done to protect other patients in the waiting rooms and our staff as the patient is assessed in the emergency room,” Mitchell added.
If the patient has recently traveled to the countries that the CDC has called a level three country, such as China, then the patient will be assessed more quickly and placed in a special room that has negative air pressure, the doctor explained.
At this time, there is no set date on when St. David’s will stop the screenings.
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