Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Updated March 11, 2020
The health of our patients, visitors, employees and physicians is our highest priority. We are working closely with the City of Waterbury Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to respond to any potential coronavirus cases in our community.
Our hospital is following the latest CDC and public agency guidelines and are prepared to identify, isolate and treat patients who seek care at our facility. Our staff also has received additional training.
If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, please call ahead. Please do not go directly to your doctor’s office, hospital emergency department or urgent care without calling first as many people can isolate at home without being evaluated in person (see additional guidance below).
In our emergency department, we ask all arriving patients about any recent international travel and if they have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Advise your healthcare provider if you have traveled to these affected countries.
What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms of coronavirus?
If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:
- Stay home if you are experiencing mild symptoms. You should restrict activities outside of your home, except for getting medical care.
- Contact your healthcare provider if your illness is worsening (i.e., difficulty breathing). Reach out to your healthcare provider by calling ahead. Tell your provider that you have or may have coronavirus-like symptoms so the staff can take steps to keep other patients from getting infected.
- If available, wear a face mask when you are around other people to help prevent the spread of the virus.
When should I seek medical care?
- If you are experiencing a severe medical emergency, such as shortness of breath, chest pain or altered mental status, please call 911 and request an ambulance.
- If you’re experiencing mild or moderate symptoms, call the doctor’s office, emergency department or urgent care first so the staff can provide you more information and/or be ready to isolate you upon arrival. You also can call 2-1-1 for more information.
Where can I get more information?
Wash your hands
frequently with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
Use face masks
if you are coughing or sneezing. If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with a suspected infection.
Avoid close contact
with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Do not expose others. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and call in advance.
Cover your cough or sneeze
with a tissue, or into your flexed elbow when tissue is not available, then throw the tissue in the trash. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Clean and disinfect
frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular cleaning spray or wipe.
How to Protect Yourself
WATERBURY HEALTH CORONAVIRUS ADVISORY
WATERBURY, Conn. – March 8, 2020 - We are closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 that has now spread to the U.S., and we are in frequent communication with the Connecticut Department of Public Health as well as with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are also supported by a company-wide, multidisciplinary COVID-19 and Seasonal Flu Task Force, which meets frequently to review and respond to the current situation and prepare for potential future scenarios.
Our most important priority is ensuring the safety and security of our patients, staff and physicians. We have adopted the CDC-recommended strategic plan for COVID-19 management with a focus on minimizing exposure, adherence to Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, providing appropriate care, consistent cleaning and disinfection processes, and continued communication with local, state and federal healthcare agencies.
We have put in place a 5-step protocol based on guidelines from the CDC for the evaluation of persons under investigation for COVID-19 that minimizes exposure to staff and others. The protocol is updated as we receive updates from the CDC. We have posted signage in our Emergency Departments (ED) and other public places requesting visitors to disclose if they have symptoms and have traveled to an area where the virus is present.
We are advising patients who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19., to please call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
We are advising people who have either NO symptoms, or only MILD symptoms of COVID-19, that they should NOT come to the Emergency Department to be tested. The CDC recommends that people who are mildly ill with COVID-19, or suspect that they may be infected with the virus, isolate at home and restrict their outside activities.
They should seek prompt medical attention if their condition worsens – for example, if they are having difficulty breathing. Keeping asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic, people away from our EDs is crucial in helping to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our community and amongst our frail emergency department patients and our staff. Ensuring the safety of our patients and staff is our highest priority, and minimizing the entry of asymptomatic or mildly ill patients into our EDs offers the best chances of ensuring uninterrupted access to life-saving emergency medical care for those who require a higher level of care.
We are continuing to work closely with our vendors and instituting preservation measures to ensure an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves and gowns. We have completed environmental checks on all negative pressure rooms that will be used to isolate any COVID-19 patients who present at our hospitals. And we are conducting tabletop COVID-19 response drills to test our systems and processes.
We want to remind the public that there are precautions they can take to help minimize their personal exposure to COVID-19. While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at home using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.