LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -- Lawrence Memorial Hospital has a patient currently being held in isolation who may have coronavirus.
The hospital says the patient recently entered the United States from Wuhan, China, and showed symptoms of a respiratory illness.
Procedures are underway to treat the patient while minimizing exposure. These procedures, the hospital says, include placing the patient in isolation in a room specially designed for infection prevention.
Test results won’t be available for a number of days.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital says they will advise the public if the CDC confirms or determines this patient is not infected with the coronavirus.
“We’ve had an all hands meeting with the health department and at the hospital where the patient is in isolation and at the state here at the KDHE, and I think we have a really good plan for monitoring this particular patient and if need be, to trace down any contacts,” Dr Lee Norman with the KDHE said.
Due to the safety precautions in place, the hospital will remain open to patients and the community.
“As in all cases like this, LMH Health works closely with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department to ensure we are appropriately prepared,” said Russ Johnson, Lawrence Memorial Hospital president and CEO. “Our initial role was one of surveillance—as the outbreak became apparent, we placed health alerts throughout the hospital and clinics regarding potential exposure in an effort to increase awareness of possible symptoms among travelers from China. Now, our efforts are focused on caring for this patient as we await test results.”
Symptoms of novel coronavirus include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever.
“We invest substantial time and energy ensuring we are prepared to handle public health concerns in concert with our partners at the local, state and federal level,” said Dr. Christopher Penn, Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s board-certified physician in infectious disease and internal medicine. “The processes we have in place are intended to keep our providers and community safe, while providing the very best care to those who need us most.”
Before news of this patient broke, a Kansas congressman, who is also a doctor, released a statement urging Kansans to take the coronavirus seriously. In fact, congressman Roger Marshall recommends anyone that’s traveled to China over the past six to eight weeks to contact your doctor or the health department so they can keep track of you, and if you do get sick, they can come to you instead of risking the health of others.
The congressman also recommends extra precautions for those most vulnerable.
“If you’re a vulnerable person, if you’re a child, if you have children, you’re pregnant or elderly, you probably need to stay away from some of the public places until we can figure out what this virus is and what’s going on with it and I just feel really concerned with China’s reaction. What we see they’re doing objectively seems to be more than just, oh by the way, another virus,” Congressman Doctor Roger Marshall said.