About 50 employees of Flagler Health+ have been in contact with the 63-year-old New York man who tested positive for COVID-19 after he attended Bike Week in Daytona Beach. The patient was among the new positive cases of the coronavirus in Florida announced by the Department of Health in the last 24 hours and reported by Historic City News.
The patient, whose name is being withheld, is now being “appropriately isolated and in good condition” in the St Johns County hospital. He is reported to be “steadily improving and seems to be responding to treatment” according to one specialist on staff at the facility.
“We have carefully screened the 50 employees for any symptoms. We want to make sure that they don’t place the facility at risk,” said Dr. Vivek Manikal, an infectious disease physician at Flagler Health+ during a televised interview. “We have carefully screened them to make sure that they don’t have any symptoms. If they do have any symptoms, they would not be allowed to return to work. Two of them have elected voluntarily to self-quarantine.”
Flagler Health+ said it has been preparing for COVID-19 for weeks and is confident in its ability to handle the outbreak.
“Just as we successfully prepared for and navigated through the pandemic H1N1 flu more than a decade ago, our leadership, emergency management, and infection prevention teams are collaborating with the Florida Department of Health and other key community agencies to ensure the healthiest environment for our patients and area residents,” a hospital spokesman to local reporters.
Simultaneously with screening affected employees, the hospital is now closely monitoring anyone who comes in-and-out of its doors. People must first check-in with a staff member stationed outside, who asks each person if they are experiencing any flu-like or upper respiratory symptoms. If someone is experiencing those systems, that person is handed a mask.
“If they do have any symptoms, we have an off-site facility within the campus and we will send them to that location for further monitoring, testing, and evaluation,” Manikal said.
Scheduled surgeries and procedures will continue as usual with appropriate precautions, but the hospital is moving routine community lab draws to off-site locations.
If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, the hospital is recommending:
- you should self-isolate
- contact the health department or your primary care provider by telephone
- utilize the “Flagler Health Anywhere” app for a discounted virtual visit with a physician. Use the discount code “FlaglerHealth2020”.
“It has spread worldwide in a very short period, so it does raise the specter of a pandemic. The World Health Organization has already labeled it a pandemic, and certainly, the attack rate seems to be high,” Dr. Manikal said, explaining that there are added concerns surrounding COVID-19. “The percentage of patients who have become sick with illness appears to be quite high. Hospitals do have reason to be concerned, especially with patients who are older, or suffer immune-compromised conditions.”
The Flagler spokesman concluded, “More than anything, we want you to know that we are here for you, your families and loved ones. We will continue to keep you updated and remain vigilant in our safety and preparedness efforts.”