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East County News Service
March 7, 2020 (La Mesa)--Sharp Healthcare, which operates Sharp Grossmont Hospital and other medical facilities in our region, has set up a webpage on the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) with information on steps Sharp is taking to protect against the virus and what the public should know.
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, which is spreading around the world.  Here are tips to help stop spread of the respiratory virus:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you're sick.
  • Cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don't use your hands, and instead use your bent elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Follow by washing your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

All patients arriving at Sharp’s emergency rooms, urgent care centers and medical clinics are asked about recent travel out of the US. And if they have any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever and cough. If so, the patient is masked and placed in a private room.  Sharp then notifies  County Public Health which consults with the CDC to determine whether to test for COVID-19.  Caregivers will wear protective equipment and practice frequent hand hygiene.

In addition, any patient or visitor is asked to wear a mask if they’ve traveled outside the U.S. in the past two weeks.  Patients with viral symptoms are also asked to wear a mask.  

Visitors with the following viral symptoms are prohibited from visiting in Sharp hospitals:  fever over 100.4 degrees F., coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, or body aches. Guests age 12 and under cannot currently visit patients and are banned from patient floors. Patients are limited to two guests at a time.

At Sharp Mary Birch NICU, only adults with wristbands are allowed; siblings are banned.

Below are additional tips:

What should I do if I come into contact with a person who potentially has coronavirus? 
If you have had close contact with someone who is confirmed to have, or is being evaluated for, coronavirus, the World Health Organization recommends staying at least three feet away.
You should also:
  • Monitor your health starting from the day you first had close contact with the person
  • Continue monitoring for 14 days after you last had close contact with the person
  • Watch for these signs and symptoms:

-Fever (take your temperature twice a day)


-Runny nose

-Sore throat

-Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • If you develop a fever or any of these symptoms, call your health care provider immediately and inform them of your close contact with someone who is confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, coronavirus and ask them to call the local or state health department
  • If you do not have any symptoms, you can continue with your daily activities as normal
What steps should I take if I'm being evaluated for the virus and don't need to be hospitalized? 
The following steps should be taken:
  • Stay home except to get necessary medical care
  • Separate yourself from any other people in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your health care provider to let them know you're being evaluated for coronavirus
  • Wear a standard mask
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, utensils, cups, etc.
  • Monitor symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if the illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing)
Where can I get more information?
If you have additional questions, please call 211 San Diego.

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