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WEATHER ALERT: Hurricane Beryl’s to bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding to Illinois

How Health Care Providers In Champaign-Urbana Are Preparing For Coronavirus

URBANA – Health care providers in east-central Illinois say they’re prepared for the possibility of coronavirus coming to central Illinois. 

If someone’s sick enough — if they have a really high fever, if they have a really bad cough or chest pain — we’ll instruct them where to come. – Dr. Robert Healy

OSF HealthCare’s Director of Prevention, Lori Grooms, says all staff receive are trained to use personal protective equipment and receive up-to-date information about the quickly evolving coronavirus situation.

She says OSF’s quality and safety department works to identify where there may be gaps in training by observing the way staff handle different situations and addressing any questions they have.

“They do reviews of patient care just to make sure we’re upholding those standards that we want,” Grooms says.

Other east-central Illinois health care providers — including Carle Foundation Hospital and Christie Clinic — say they conduct similar training, and also regularly monitor how much protective gear they have, as part of a statewide public health effort to determine where supplies are located in the event they need to be shared. 

Hospitals are also advising anyone worried they may have the coronavirus to call for guidance before coming in.

Dr. Robert Healy, chief quality officer for Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, says this will allow doctors to do an initial assessment of a patient’s symptoms to determine whether they need to report in-person for care.

“For a lot of people, the answer’s going to be: stay home, plenty of fluids, chicken soup or whatever your mother told you about, and ibuprofen or Tylenol, etc., for fever,” Healy says. “If someone’s sick enough — if they have a really high fever, if they have a really bad cough or chest pain — we’ll instruct them where to come.”

Healy says those who need to report to the emergency department, convenient care or doctor’s office are instructed to wear a mask upon arrival to help protect employees and other patients.

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At this time, hospitals are not able to conduct coronavirus testing on site. Instead, they work closely with local public health staff to determine when a patient may require testing.

Carle recently began participating in a statewide coronavirus surveillance program led by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Find more information about the coronavirus from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman

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Christine Herman

Christine Herman is a Ph.D. chemist turned audio journalist who covers health for the Illinois Newsroom. Her reporting for Illinois Public Media/WILL has received awards from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association, the Public Media Journalists Association and has reached both regional and national audiences through WILL's health reporting partnership with Side Effects Public Media, NPR and Kaiser Health News. Christine started at WILL in 2015.

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