2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

    COVID-19: Prepare, Don’t Panic. Guidance For Our Patients About COVID-19


           

On Saturday Feb. 29, the governor issued a statewide emergency declaration after a man in Kirkland died of COVID-19, the first such reported death in the United States. Sadly, there have been 10 deaths, and 39 confirmed cases in the state of Washington to date. California announced its first coronavirus-linked death Wednesday, bringing the overall death toll in the United States to 11 at the time of this publication.

In response to this public health threat, Madigan Army Medical Center is coordinating with 1st Corps, Army Public Health, and local public health authorities for guidance, collaboration and response planning. Madigan is also working with community partners in order to ensure that we keep patients and all of Madigan's staff informed.

Now is the time we plan, and not panic, to ensure we stop the virus' spread. The best way to protect yourself is to have accurate information and exercise sound practices that are proven to stop the spread of respiratory illnesses.

There are a few important steps that everyone can take in order to reduce the risk of getting any viral respiratory infection, such as the common cold or influenza.

           

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this frequently and thoroughly, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; then throw the tissue away. It is important to stay at home, away from others, if you are sick in general. Also, clean and disinfect routinely touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

It is also important to know that those who are older and have pre-existing health conditions should routinely practice these preventive measures as these groups can be more susceptible to illness.

           

Lastly, a note on facemasks. The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask except for those with symptoms of COVID-19. However, healthcare workers and people who are taking care of patients in close settings, at home or in a health care facility with COVID-19 symptoms should wear them. We want to make certain there is enough supply for those providing care to those who are getting treatment.

           

A number of symptoms have been associated with cases of COVID-19, however according to the CDC, fever, cough and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of concern. Exposure to COVID-19 is a critical component in identifying potential cases. If you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, you could have been exposed to the virus.

           

Before arriving for treatment at any healthcare provider or medical facility, call your healthcare professional beforehand if you have symptoms, or have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. This will ensure the appropriate precautions can be taken to protect other patients, staff and the JBLM community.

If you have symptoms and have been exposed, the MHS Nurse Advice Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you get the assistance you need. Call 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), Option 1 to speak with a registered nurse from the comfort of your home with your health concerns.

           

Madigan’s patients can also utilize the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal’s Secure Messaging feature to message their healthcare team. The MHS GENESIS Patient Portal puts you in control of your health care. It gives you secure access to your electronic medical record 24/7, and allows you to reach out to your Madigan health care team when and where it’s convenient for you. It's available on your computer, tablet or smartphone. The MHS GENESIS Patient Portal replaces TRICARE Online secure messaging, and RelayHealth, while you receive care at Madigan Army Medical Center. For more information, visit our MHS GENESIS information page here.

           

Whenever there is a public health crisis, disinformation and myths can be dangerous. If you hear a rumor or come across other information, especially on social media, verify it at the CDC's website at https://www.cdc.gov to ensure it's accurate. Help keep your community healthy by only sharing accurate information.

           

We also want Madigan’s patients and visitors to be aware, the Main Hospital Tower entrance at the flag pole, the Main Medical Mall entrance (near the Main Outpatient Pharmacy) and the Emergency Room entrance and West entrance next to the ER entrance are the only points of access to enter the facility at this time.

In an effort to keep Madigan’s patients, staff and the entire local community safe from the spread of COVID-19, Madigan has enacted proactive changes to the inpatient visitation policy for the hospital and outlying clinics. See full policy changes here.


                               Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19



QUESTION: What’s being done to protect JBLM service members, families, retirees, civilian employees, and to ensure JBLM facilities aren’t accidentally exposed to COVID-19, or other infectious diseases?

ANSWER: In response to the potential public health threat, Madigan is coordinating with I Corps, 62nd Air Wing, JBLM Garrison, Army Public Health, and local public health authorities for guidance and response planning. Since the first U.S. case occurred in the state of Washington, home of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Madigan's Preventive Medicine team is taking preemptive measures including having a physician on call 24/7 for consultation for any concerns about a possible exposure.

QUESTION: What measures are being taken in the dining halls, food courts, food trucks and other food service facilities to protect from COVID-19 exposure?

ANSWER: Madigan’s environmental health section and Public Health Activity – Ft. Lewis are responsible for food safety on JBLM and continues to proactively monitor food services on the base ensuring proper food handling and preparation methods are strictly followed. Madigan has been coordinating between various departments to ensure preparedness, it's been a priority to educate patients on what steps to take if they have symptoms.

QUESTION: If a family member feels sick (i.e., cold or flu symptoms) what should they do?

ANSWER: Contact your healthcare provider, urgent care center, or emergency room prior to arrival if you feel you have been in close contact with a suspected or known person ill with COVID-19. You can call or message your provider by way of MHS GENESIS’ patient portal which may be easier and faster than a phone call.

QUESTION: Can Madigan test for COVID-19?

ANSWER: Yes. Madigan’s testing ability is primarily for ADSM; however, Madigan will coordinate and ensure our patients have the proper guidance to receive testing as promptly as possible from our local and state government partners.

QUESTION: If a JBLM service member or family member who lives off-base tests positive for COVID-19, or are exposed, where will they be isolated – at home or on base? Who will be responsible to monitor them?

ANSWER: If a military beneficiary is tested positive for COVID-19 and becomes sick with the associated symptoms, Madigan will take the precautions for the individual, family, friends and the general public that may include isolation at home or at Madigan as necessary.

QUESTION: If Coronavirus begins to impact JBLM, will the base issue face masks to all personnel like we’re seeing people wear overseas?

ANSWER: No. The use of masks will be for those exhibiting flu and cold symptoms. The best steps everyone can take in order to reduce the risk of getting any viral respiratory infections such as influenza include washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. We also recommend to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands and to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. It is also important to stay at home, away from others, if you are sick.

QUESTION: What disinfectants or hand sanitizers should I use that are effective against COVID-19?

ANSWER: The CDC recommends use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a list of disinfectant products approved for use against COVID-19 on surfaces, including multiple products from brand such as Clorox and Lysol. Some of the specific products include Clorox toilet cleaner with bleach, Clorox disinfecting spray, Lysol disinfectant max cover mist, Lysol toilet bowl cleaners, and Lysol multi-surface cleaner and disinfectant spray.

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