Local hospitals set new procedures for potential coronavirus cases


JOPLIN, Mo. — More and more attention is focusing on the coronavirus – prompting a local hospital to set new procedures in place for patients.

Freeman Health System wants to be very clear with any potential for local coronavirus cases.

And signs at hospitals and clinics focus on those symptoms.

Jessica Liberty, Freeman Infection Prevention Manager, said, “They’re just asking patients that come in with respiratory illnesses if they have been traveling in the last 14 days – more specifically in china. And if they’ve been in contact with somebody with the known coronavirus.”

The coronavirus is part of a group of illnesses, similar to SARS or MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Dr. Uwe Schmidt, Freeman Infectious Disease, said, “Quite a few of them, around 17, most are benign.”

But there’s a lot the experts don’t know about the coronavirus, especially how to help patients.

“There is no treatment available or vaccination,” said Liberty.

That’s prompting Freeman Health System to post signs warning who could be at risk.

“Do you have respiratory symptoms, more specifically are you running a fever? Do you have shortness of breath?”

It doesn’t mean a definite case of coronavirus – just that you should let them know immediately.

And that they’ll take a closer look.

That’s the case both in Joplin and across the state.

MO Governor Mike Parson, R, said, “This is a serious issue and we’re going to make sure we know what we’re doing on the testing side of it – make sure we’re getting information to people. And we’re identifying people in the case we are having this.”

More than 40,000 have been confirmed around the world – with 910 of those ending in death.

It isn’t just Freeman – Mercy is incorporating new coronavirus protocols as patients check in.

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