A patient who first sought medical attention in Emporia tested negative for the coronavirus Wednesday, according to a statement from Stormont Vail Health.
The Emporia outpatient was one of three people tested after Stormont Vail Health determined they showed signs of having contracted the virus. The other two patients were from Shawnee County.
“Our team did exactly what they have been trained to do,” Stormont Vail Health President and CEO Robert Kenagy said. “These negative results are good news for our community and allowed our team to review the processes in place to continue to prepare for when the virus makes it’s way to our region.”
The World Health Organization officially classified coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) as a pandemic Wednesday, with more than 120,000 infections reported worldwide and at least 1,000 positive cases in the United States as of press time.
The news came shortly after WIBW reported that three people in Topeka, including one who first arrived at a Stormont Vail Health clinic in Emporia, were being tested for the respiratory illness.
Stormont Vail confirmed the news to The Emporia Gazette via written release.
“Our team responded appropriately by placing the patients in an isolation room and utilizing protective equipment such as the Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR), gloves and gowns,” read the Stormont Vail statement.
“Our health system has worked diligently to prepare for COVID-19 at Stormont Vail Health,” Kenagy said in the release. “Our team followed the training provided and performed exactly as they should. I am even more confident that when a positive case comes to Stormont Vail and Shawnee County, our teams will follow our protocols to provide high-quality care.”
The Flint Hills Community Health Center said it was also monitoring the situation.
“It is our practice to follow KDHE protocol and not to report Person Under Investigation (PUI) in order to protect the confidentiality of the patients being tested,” FHCHC CEO and Lyon County Health Officer Renee Hively said in a written release.
“As with any respiratory illness we recommended universal precautions to minimize the spread of disease,” the release continued. “These include washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, cover your mouth when you cough, avoid touching your face, mouth and eyes and staying home when you are sick. It is recommended you stay home for 24 hours fever free without fever reducing medications. Currently, our community partners are working together to help monitor the health of our community. Everyone has a part to play in reducing the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus.”
Lyon County Emergency Manager Jarrod Fell said people should “avoid large social gatherings as another way to reduce your chance of exposure to any illness.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever, shortness of breath and breathing problems. Concerned individuals should seek medical help right away, calling ahead to their primary care providers before going to an emergency room. Patients presenting to Stormont Vail or a Cotton O’Neil Clinic should call 785-354-6000 before arriving. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.
Kansas announced its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a Johnson County woman under the age of 50 Saturday during a press conference. As of Wednesday, the patient is doing well. To date, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment lists 41 negative coronavirus tests have been performed. Positive tests results are reported on KDHE website at www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/publicupdate/COVID-19_March_11_2020.pdf.
For information about local response, visit www.flinthillshealth.org.