by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | February 07, 2020
A number of healthcare organizations are taking action to address and protect individuals from the novel coronavirus epidemic, which has affected thousands worldwide and cost close to 500 their lives.
Among these organizations is the ECRI Institute, which has developed a Coronavirus Outbreak Preparedness Center to help hospitals protect healthcare workers and patients from the epidemic.
“If the staff and community know healthcare practitioners are prepared, they will feel safer, thus alleviating anxiety,” James Davis, senior infection prevention and patient safety analyst/consultant at ECRI Institute, told HCB News. “For internal and external responders (nurses, docs, ems, etc.), fear is alleviated through drilling and testing the system. Identify the weaknesses and implement solutions. Our healthcare stakeholders have all learned a lot form SARS, Mers-CoV, Ebola, and the flu and they will learn and adapt with this threat as well.”
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Originating within Wuhan City in the Hubei province of China, the disease has been nicknamed the “Wuhan coronavirus” and the “novel coronavirus”. It belongs to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The World Health Organization first detected its presence in December when it was made aware of several cases of a respiratory illness clinically resembling viral pneumonia.
It recently declared it to be an epidemic
that has affected at least 24,000 in China to date, as well as individuals in other countries, according to NBC News
. A twelfth case was recently confirmed in the U.S., with the first instance of person-to-person spread confirmed on January 30. The result has led countries to suspend flights to China, due to most reported cases outside of China being linked to residence in or travel to Wuhan. It should be noted, however, that federal health official continue to believe the threat to the general American population is relatively low.
The center offers a variety of resources to the public for free, with no membership or other payment required. Among them are preparation and patient handling checklists; equipment and alternative suppliers; patient care equipment evaluations, including portable ventilators; recommendations for infection control; and resources from Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization.