March 12, 2020 – We understand there are many questions and concerns about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) now that we have confirmed cases in Iowa.
We want to assure the community that Mercy Cedar Rapids is closely following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and working closely with public health officials and other area hospitals and healthcare providers to address this rapidly-changing situation.
Mercy has put processes in place to triage and treat potential cases of COVID-19. These measures are designed to protect patients, visitors and our healthcare workforce.
If You Suspect You Have COVID-19:
- With the exception of severe cases, please do not go to the Emergency Department if you have symptoms of or may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
- If you suspect that you may have the Coronavirus, call the Mercy Emergency Department at (319) 398-6037. Nurses are available by phone to answer your questions and direct you to the appropriate care, if needed.
- The State Hygienic Laboratory will not test for COVID-19 unless they have prior approval from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The best way to avoid getting COVID-19 – or any virus – is to follow common practices that eliminate and/or reduce your exposure to germs. These activities include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the restroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Twenty seconds is the recommended amount of time to fully cleanse your hands.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissues are available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.
How Mercy Is Keeping Employees & Volunteers Safe:
Keeping our healthcare workforce healthy and safe is a top priority to ensure we are prepared and able to serve the health needs of our community as this situation evolves. As a result, Mercy has several mechanisms currently in place to ensure the safety of all of our patients, staff and volunteers, as well as minimize any potential exposure. In addition to the universal precautions listed above, this also includes:
- Using personal protective equipment when caring for potentially contagious patients
- Increasing physical distance (when possible)
- Moving volunteers from certain areas and supporting those who choose not to come in
- Evaluating all large upcoming public events
- Restricting visitors to the hospital and Hallmar residential care
- Implementing processes for patient flow to limit potential exposure
Because the coronavirus situation is developing so rapidly, we’ll continue to keep you informed via Mercy’s website and social media, including Mercy’s Facebook page.