Although coronavirus (COVID-19) is new, preparing for emergencies is not. Iowa hospitals and health systems conduct emergency preparedness training year-round.
Hospitals treat patients with infectious diseases every day. Protocols are in place to care for these patients while ensuring the safety of hospital staff, visitors and communities. Hospitals also share information and best practices to deploy strategies that work best for their communities.
From what we know now, most people who become infected with COVID-19 will not become seriously ill and will not need hospitalization. Those with serious illness may need hospital care, including respiratory support.
When there is threat of an illness that could cause a surge of patients, hospitals step up their preparedness and coordination activities. In the case of COVID-19, Iowa hospitals will work closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and local public health to coordinate responses.
What you need to know
- Most cases of COVID-19 will not mean hospitalization or an emergency room visit. Hospital care is a precious resource that must be reserved for those with the most-serious symptoms.
- Follow IDPH’s advice to prevent infection:
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw that tissue away.
- Do not touch your face.
- Stay home when you are sick and manage your symptoms as you would any cold.
- Wash your hands.
- If your symptoms become worse, call your health care provider.
- Continue to see your provider for regularly scheduled visits to address your other health care needs. Do not neglect your existing needs.
- Masks will not prevent you from getting the virus, but they can help prevent the spread of illness because they stop large droplets from sneezes and coughs from becoming airborne or contaminating surfaces.