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MercyOne North Iowa screening patients for coronavirus

The hospital is asking patients if they have traveled to China and if they have cold or flu-type symptoms.

Posted: Feb 6, 2020 9:29 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2020 5:14 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - MercyOne North Iowa is playing it safe regarding the looming threat of the coronavirus. Kim Overbeck, who is an infection prevention nurse at the hospital, says the same rules of prevention apply to coronavirus and influenza.

"We're still following our normal procedures with cleaning and everything in that aspect, because we prepare for weather, and it's right in the middle of influenza season, so we are doing everything that we can even in the basis of that, so it kind of falls into we don't need to do anything extra,” said Overbeck.

The hospital is asking patients to reveal cold or flu symptoms and inquiring about recent travel to China. Overbeck says the protocol is clear if a possible coronavirus patient arrives for treatment.

"We would do what CDC is recommending and for the patient to be in isolation and so that just means that we're wearing a mask ourselves and wearing a respirator, wearing gloves and gowns and eye protection,” she said.

Drew Rietjens from Clear Lake has been paying attention to the outbreak.

"I’m very doubtful of the official numbers coming out of china, having lived and worked there for a time knowing that, but you need to have a measured response. You don't need to be panicked, or blow it off...somewhere in the middle,” said Rietjens.

Rietjens thinks MercyOne is taking appropriate steps to ensure North Iowa doesn't become a breeding ground for coronavirus.

"They’re the health care professionals and I know it's more rampant in other places, so if you're coming from a place where there's more infections reported, then that's just a prudent measure,” he said.

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