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  • PCHS


Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Today, representatives from Phillips County EMS, area long term care facilities, and Phillips County Health Department met at the Phillips County Hospital with Phillips County Health Systems’ Chief of Staff, Dr. Doolittle, CEO, Infectious Disease Coordinator, and other frontline healthcare personnel to determine actions needed to address the Coronavirus outbreak.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak in China. The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Dr. Doolittle shared that COVID-19 coming to our community is likely inevitable and it is probable that it will be here soon. “This is not to cause panic or alarm but to make sure that precautions are in place and healthcare personnel are prepared,” stated Dr. Doolittle.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. Those that are in close contact with these individuals, such as family and healthcare workers, are also at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

If symptoms appear, self-isolation is very important. Do not go to work or send children to school and stay at home. Call your healthcare provider prior to presenting to the clinic, hospital, or county health for directions on where to go and what steps to take to protect yourself and others.

Phillips County Health Systems has implemented several precautions to protect patients and healthcare providers. These include implementing respiratory precautions, mobilizing respiratory support, and segmenting off isolated examination areas in the ER. Isolation capacities have also been increased in the Phillips County Hospital for inpatients.

Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, you can take steps to reduce your risk of infection. The CDC recommends following the standard precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if your hands aren't clean.

  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.

  • Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you're sick.

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch.

  • Stay home from work, school, and public areas if you're sick.

CDC doesn't recommend that healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Only wear a mask if a health care provider tells you to do so.

There is a national shortage of masks, hand sanitizer, and other personal hygiene items. Please do not take these items from healthcare facilities, as they are needed for patients as they present and for healthcare providers.

Today’s actions, taken together, represent a collaborative approach in protecting and treating the residents of Phillips County and surrounding areas by the public health department, EMS, long term care facilities, and Phillips County Health Systems.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC website at

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