PORTALES, NM, March 4, 2020 – Roosevelt General Hospital (RGH) is taking precautions to safeguard
patients, visitors and staff against COVID-19, known as Coronavirus-19.
Currently in the United States, there are 13 states with 80 cases and
nine confirmed coronavirus deaths.
“Although at this time, there are not any confirmed cases in New
Mexico, it’s important for RGH to plan and prepare for the worst
case scenario,” said Kaye Green, CEO at Roosevelt General Hospital.
At the moment, hospital officials are requesting community members not
visit the hospital unless they have a need to. “At the front line,
registration staff are providing masks to patients presenting with respiratory
illness including symptoms and/or fever. From there, these patients are
seen by a provider or nurse to quickly identify the respiratory illness
symptoms, fever, travel history and possible exposure and isolate these
patients,” stated Jesse Gleaton-Croke, manager of Infection Control.
At which time, RGH teams up with NM Department of Health to confirm or
rule out COVID-19 and initiate treatment plan.
Symptoms of the virus usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms
range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
These symptoms are very similar to the flu, as they are both viruses that
cause respiratory illness. The difference is influenza is spread via respiratory
droplets and COVID-19 is spread by breathing in shared air (airborne)
of an infected person. As with all viruses, there are no antibiotics to
cure the flu or coronavirus. Treatment is aimed at addressing symptoms,
such as reducing fever.
Gleaton-Croke mentioned there are simple things you can do to help keep
yourself and others healthy. “Be sure to wash your hands often with
soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after blowing your nose,
coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing
food.” She also stated, “It’s important to stay home
when you’re sick and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and
make sure to dispose of it in the trash.”
A shortage of masks has been reported nationwide and RGH is affected by
this mask shortage as well. However, RGH initiated conservation strategies
shortly after the virus entered the U.S. Staff issue masks to patients
who present with respiratory illness symptoms and/or fever immediately.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not currently
recommend the general public use facemasks. Instead CDC recommends everyday
The best defense healthcare workers have to protect themselves and the
community against the rapid evolving illness is to mask the patient with
a facemask and place the patient in a negative pressure isolation room
and adhere to airborne and contact isolation precautions and wear eye
protection. Professional healthcare workers are working closely with the
Department of Health as the virus evolves.
Roosevelt General Hospital is committed to providing comprehensive patient
care for residents throughout Roosevelt County, New Mexico and surrounding
areas. RGH offers a 24/7 physician-staffed emergency room, full spectrum
inpatient and outpatient services, general surgery, laboratory, imaging
services, physical therapy and respiratory services