UCHealth Working to Prevent Coronavirus Outbreak in U.S.
The doctors at UCHealth were already working hard this flu season, but now, they're facing off against a dangerous virus.
According to a press release from UCHealth, the coronavirus, which killed at least 17 people in Asia, has made its way to the U.S. from China.
Coronaviruses themselves are common, and can be something as simple as a cold.
However, the virus can also present as diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed almost 800 people around the world.
The coronavirus also caused MERS, a dangerous disease in the Middle East that jumped from camels to humans.
Researchers are unsure as to how this new form of the coronavirus spreads, but they believe it can easily transfer from human to human.
Thankfully, it is unlikely that there will be a major outbreak of the virus here, as there has only been one confirmed patient in the U.S. so far.
However, doctors in Colorado are still on high alert to prevent the virus from spreading.
UCHealth decided to increase their screening protocols on January 15. This means they'll be asking every patient if they have traveled outside of the U.S. in the past 30 days.
If a patient does present with fever, pneumonia, or flu-like symptoms, they will be isolated, and doctors will wear masks, gowns, and gloves to keep other patients safe.
"We always hope for the best and plan for the worst," said Dr. Michelle Barron, the medical director for Infection Control and Prevention at University of Colorado Hospital.
Health officials across the country are also on high alert, screening anyone arriving from China at multiple U.S. airports.
Still, there is no cause for alarm. Barron assures that health care experts "are prepared for this."
She recommends following typical prevention practices — avoid people who are sick, wash your hands regularly, wear a mask if you are around a sick person, and be aware of any concerning symptoms.