Coronavirus pandemic

• Health care facilities prepare to meet needs

Alderman at large Tim Liddy called a town meeting of local health care professionals on Monday, March 9, in regards to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Medical personnel from health care organizations in Holly Springs were called together at city hall in discussion of contingency plans for COVID-19. The ultimate goal was to ensure that all local health care facilities and their personnel were prepared to meet the needs of the community.

Leading the meeting were Dr. Kenneth Williams, president, and Marketia Morrow, chief nursing officer of Alliance HealthCare System.

Dr. Williams emphasized the importance of local health care professionals working together in order to provide the best health care for the community during this pandemic.

Morrow discussed a plan of preparation for the pandemic by discussing symptoms and providing information on implemented protocols such as having patients to call into the clinic or emergency department prior to arrival. At that point, the appropriate medical staff will go to the patient's private vehicle and provide proper assessments as a plan of prevention for the spread of COVID-19.

She continued her discussion by emphasizing the importance of community prevention and planning and how to take action by following CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines.

Covered pointers were made of how to educate the community on creating household plans of action with families in the event of exposure or outbreak. She indicated how it is possible for the elderly or those with underlying chronic medical conditions to be more at risk for serious complications and advised that in the event of feeling symptomatic to first alert health care professionals by phone before going for treatment.

She led a discussion for risk management protocols in an effort to decrease exposure to others. Another pointer was for health care professionals to encourage households to practice everyday preventive actions by avoiding contact with others who are ill, to stay at home when sick, to clean throughout the home with disinfectants and the practice of continuous hand washing and sanitizing. Sectoring off a room in the home for those who are sick away from those who remain healthy was advised.

Morrow continued by encouraging community members to learn about the emergency plans in place for schools or daycare facilities where children may be in attendance as well as employer emergency operation plans. During an outbreak, one can only protect oneself as well as others by staying home from work or school when sick and avoiding contact with others presenting with signs of illness. Morrow advised to cover

coughs and sneezes with tissue and to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and if soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizers that contain 60 percent alcohol. She also discouraged the touching of the face. Although there are numerous other approaches that can be taken, the above mentioned were highly advised steps community members should take in order to protect their homes as well as any elderly or children within the homes during an outbreak.

Morrow concluded her discussion mentioning the expanded laboratory services offered through Alliance HealthCare System, which tests for many different strains of respiratory viruses. Testing through the newlyexpanded laboratory services can be ordered by any local health care professional.

Among other health care providers and emergency responders in attendance was Rodney Crane, chief of the Holly Springs Fire Department.

He said fire department personnel are prepared to assist in any way needed. It has partnered with the health department to provide inoculation locally and statewide, as needed.

Chris Weaver, administrator of the Holly Springs Health and Rehabilitation Center, provided information on the extra precautions that have been implemented for the protection of residents of that facility.

Debbie Lewers Sneed, with the Mississippi State Department of Health, followed with plans of preparedness on behalf of the state.

She explained the testing procedure for presumptive cases under investigation for COVID-19.

She encouraged all in attendance to continuously check the State Department of Health website as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention daily for the latest updates. Sneed concluded by encouraging everyone to become knowledgeable about Emergency Operation Plans for local schools.

In conclusion, the meeting was adjourned with all local health care professionals and emergency responders agreeing to put forth all efforts to implement plans of preparedness and prevention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388

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