As national concern about the spread of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) grows, the Kenosha County Division of Health today released a series of guidelines for people to consider before visiting local long-term care facilities.
As of March 11 2020, there remain no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kenosha County, said Dr. Jen Freiheit, director of the county Division of Health.
However, Freiheit said, there are some important steps people can take to prevent the spread, particularly in long-term care settings.
Long-term care facility visitors and employees are encouraged to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on prevention steps, including following strict handwashing procedures and, in many cases, wearing gowns and gloves while working with residents who are sick.
Below are some examples of how you can help protect long-term care residents, as well as prevent the spread of coronavirus throughout the community:
- For family members and friends, we ask that you do not visit a long-term care facility if you have any symptoms of respiratory illness. Those symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath, even if the symptoms are mild.
- If you have traveled to anywhere with active Coronavirus cases, including affected areas within the United States, also please do not visit a long-term care facility until 14 days after return from travel.
- We understand that connecting with loved ones is incredibly important, and there are a variety of other ways you might consider reaching them. Ask your long-term care facility how it might be able to assist with communications by telephone, email, text, Skype or Facebook.
Long-term care facilities are being asked to stay in close contact and follow the guidance of the Kenosha County Division of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. In response to this, you may see signs posted in the entryways at local facilities and you may be screened for entry.
“These are all efforts aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Freiheit said. “We realize these recommendations might be difficult for people in long-term care facilities and their families and friends, but they are aimed at protecting the public health of our community at large.”
For additional information, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease information page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov and the state health department’s website at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm.
The Kenosha County Division of Health continues to monitor the 2019 coronavirus very closely for further developments to ensure that public health is safeguarded.
For further updates, follow the Kenosha County Division of Health on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KenoshaCountyHealth.