Trinity Health prepares amidst coronavirus concerns

Published: Feb. 27, 2020 at 4:58 PM CST
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As of Thursday we do not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Dakota, but state health officials say they are monitoring nine potential ones.

Hospitals throughout the state are taking action. In Minot, Trinity Hospital says it is preparing in the event the virus makes its way here.

They say plans are still in the early stages, but they are taking ideas from the Ebola outbreak plan put in place a few years ago. The hospital currently has five pressurized rooms ready to quarantine patients.

Trinity Infectious Disease Specialist Casmiar Nwaigwe says the virus can cause symptoms similar to the common cold.

“They’re actually similar, they’re more similar than they are different. It presents just like a common cold, for most people it can cause sore throat, cough and cold, and fevers and body aches and a majority of people recover, up to 80% of the people recover. Some people regress to severe respiratory illness in which their lungs are filled with fluid and they can’t breathe and they have to be on a respirator for some time,“ said Nwaigwe.

He also precautions anyone who thinks they may have contacted the virus not come to the emergency room.

“If you suspect that you've been exposed or you suspect that you have it not to come to the hospital. Call your doctor or contact the state Health Department or the First Unit Health District first so we can assess you over the phone and if we need to bring you to into the hospital, you can be brought in in the safest manner possible," said Nwaigwe.

The hospital says the pressurized rooms are available on a case-by-case basis and that an ambulance can be prepared to transport a coronavirus patient.