Coronavirus puts Lorain County on high alert

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Every action each one of us takes now has very significant consequences… We are at a critical time and we need to get this right.”
Gov. Mike DeWine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This illustration shows severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or COVID-19, as it looks when viewed through an electron microsope.

NOTE: Our March 19 edition is dedicated to full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and how it’s disrupted everyday life in Lorain County and the rest of Ohio. Pick it up at local grocery and convenience stores.

JASON HAWK
EDITOR

Coronavirus cases next door in Cuyahoga County put local businesses and government agencies in a state of alert the past week.

After three Cuyahoga County patients tested positive for COVID-19, University Hospitals revealed they were seen by UH physicians.

The patients were placed under home quarantine and monitored by the Ohio Department of Health and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, UH announced. None were immediately hospitalized.

At the UH Cleveland Medical Center emergency room, the patients were met by infectious disease experts who wore eye protection, gowns, gloves and masks. They were examined in negative pressure rooms to contain the virus.

Six UH caregivers who were in close contact with the patients were also placed in home isolation and being monitored.

The hospital system is in continuous communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, local governments and local EMS teams, according to a release from UH spokeswoman Kristen Kutina.

All patients who enter UH facilities are screened for COVID-19.

“If you have reason to suspect that you might have COVID-19, we recommend that you call your UH primary care physician for instructions,” the release said. “We do not recommend coming into your physician’s office or a healthcare facility without a doctor’s directive to do so.”

Jonathon Fauvie, a spokesman for Mercy Health, asked Friday for people to stop visiting its Lorain County locations.

“For mother/baby and pediatric patients, visitors are limited to a designated partner or primary caretaker/guardian (only one at a time),” he said in a release. “Exceptions will be considered based on end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the patient’s care.”

“We recognize that this can be disappointing to our visitors, patients and residents, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you or your family. The health of you and our patients is our top priority.”

BLOOD BANKS

Vitalant, which helps provide blood to hospitals across Lorain County, is asking healthy people to keep donating.

It is also alerting people not to give blood if they have visited mainland China, South Korea, Iran or Italy within the past month, have had a COVID-19 infection or been exposed to someone suspected of having a COVID-19 infection.

Hospitals will be extremely challenged if COVID-19 infections increase,” said Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant’s chief medical and scientific officer. “The last thing we want them worrying about is having enough blood for trauma victims and cancer patients. That’s why it’s imperative that healthy individuals donate blood at drives and blood donation sites now.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is currently low,” he said. “Furthermore, due to the nature of the virus, it is highly unlikely that it can be transmitted through blood transfusions.”

The Red Cross echoed the call for help from blood donors.

“We’re asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time,” said President Chris Hrouda. “As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients.”

To give blood, call 877-258-4825 or visit www.vitalant.org; or call 800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.