Infection Prevention Emphasized

October 18, 2015

With the advent of fall, cold and flu season arrives.  Officials at Colorado Pllains Medical Center are taking the appropriate precautions to keep patients, employees, and the community safe.  On October 17, the hospital chose to implement several influenza precautions at the facility which include the following:
*  Visitation will be restricted - Those under the age of 12, those who are pregnant, or those who have chronic respiratory issues will not be allowed to visit the facility until further notice.  This includes visitors for patients and employees.
*  Patients scheduled for tests will be asked to wear a mask if they have flu or respiratory-like symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, or a fever.
*  All visitors should be well without fever, cough, or respiratory symptoms.
*  There will be a limit of two visitors per patient.

Jackie Danielsen, RN, Infection Control and Employee Health Nurse at Colorado Plains Medical Center, notes that the public can effectively protect itself from the flu virus and colds by:
*  Washing hands often with soap and water, scrubbing the backs, between fingers, and under nails for at least 20 seconds
*  If access to soap and water is limited, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
*  Avoid close contact and sharing food, cups, or eating utensils with anyone who may have a virus
*  Disinfect the home and other belongings, such as children's toys and play areas regularly
*  Ensure that those who are sick stay home from school or work to avoid exposing others to infection
*  Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing using a tissue, sleeve, or elbow, and not hands
*  Get a flu shot.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone from children age six months to adults receive an annual flu vaccination

This year, reports of other illnesses, such as Ebola, have overshadowed cold and flu season and prompted concern in communities across the country and worldwide. "While the CDC does not anticipate the spread of Ebola to the area, we understand that news reports about the rise of unfamiliar viruses can be intimidating," states Danielsen.

"Our care team at Colorado Plains Medical Center takes this threat seriously and is taking all necessary steps to prepare for the unlikely event of Ebola cases being identified in Colorado.  We continue to work closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Hospital Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others to monitor the situation and are adopting necessary protocols as needed.  Our staff has received additional education on how to identify, manage, and respond to any suspected cases.  In fact, out of an abundance of caution, visitors at the hosptial may notice some changes we have implemented to proactively prepare for a potential case of Ebola."

Some changes include the posting of signage inquiring about travel to foreign countries and by asking additional questions upon registration regarding recent travel to foreign countries.  Danielsen emphasizes that these are purely preventive meausres to protect the community and not meant to cause alarm.

CPMC's goal is to keep Morgan County healthy.  If anyone has any questions about infection prevention or needs assistance scheduling a flu shot, please contact CPMC at 970-867-3391.