LMH Health preparing for potential COVID-19 response following presumptive positive case in Johnson County
LMH Health is working with Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to closely monitor an outbreak caused by novel coronavirus. COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China and in a growing number of countries internationally.
The KDHE confirmed the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Kansas. The possible case was identified on Saturday through testing sent to the KDHE laboratory. The results will be verified by the CDC lab but will be treated as positive, unless determined otherwise.
“Kansas has been prepared for positive cases of novel coronavirus and will continue to work alongside local and federal public health partners in addressing the spread of the virus,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “It is our main priority to keep Kansans healthy and safe. We want Kansans educated on all aspects related to COVID-19.”
The case is located in Johnson County and the patient, a woman under the age of 50, is currently in home isolation. She had recently traveled to the east coast of the United States, where there a number of cases of coronavirus have been identified.
“LMH Health is prepared to respond to potential cases of COVID-19,” said Russ Johnson, LMH Health President and CEO. “Like all hospitals around the country, we are watching the developing situation closely. Our physicians and experts in public health and disease have invested substantial time and energy to ensure that we are prepared to handle this and all public health concerns, in tandem with our partners at Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health and the KDHE. The processes we have in place are intended to keep our providers, staff and community safe, while providing the best care to patients.”
Patients who are concerned that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should call their primary care physician before coming to the clinic or hospital. Patients with suspected COVID-19 will be placed in an isolation room specially designed for infection prevention.
Daily preventive care is key in preventing the spread of infection. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Johnson said that it is also important that community members obtain their annual influenza vaccination, if they haven’t already.
Additional preventive measures include:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow to avoid spread of droplets.
- Staying home if you are sick and communicating with your physician and work place.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at home and at work.
- Practicing healthy habits like getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food.
“While we do not believe there is any reason for immediate concern locally, we are taking all necessary precautions,” said Johnson. “As in all cases, we are committed to providing exceptional care for our patients while keeping our community safe.”
This is an ongoing situation and information is changing rapidly. The best local sources of information about COVID-19 are Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). The KDHE hotline is also available to answer questions at 866-534-3463 during regular business hours and from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, March 8.