Signage has been placed at all entrances of Saint Michael's requesting
patients and visitors with a fever and recent international travel to
immediately notify healthcare staff.
NEWARK, NJ -- With New Jersey reporting its first case of confirmed novel coronavirus,
Saint Michael’s Medical Center has been working closely with local,
state and federal public health agencies as well as its own health care
professionals to prepare in the event of a suspected or confirmed case
at the Newark hospital.
“Our first and primary concern is the safety of our patients, visitors,
health care professionals as well as the community we serve,” said
Dr. Jihad Slim, the chief of the Department of Infectious Diseases at
“Our staff is already well trained in the use of standard, contact
and airborne precautions in the treatment of patients with infectious
diseases,” Dr. Slim said. “We are relying on this expertise
as we prepare for the possibility of patients with suspected or confirmed
cases of coronavirus.”
Gov. Phil Murphy Wednesday announced the first presumptive case of coronavirus,
or COVID-19, in New Jersey. The man 32-year old man from Fort Lee in Bergen
County is being treated at Hackensack University Medical Center, where
he has been hospitalized since March 3.
The coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2, is the cause the COVID-19 pandemic
that has already resulted in at least 153 patients with the illness in
However, the risk to the general public in the U.S. remains low, according
to the state Health Department. Residents with questions about the virus
are urged to call New Jersey’s hotline at (800) 222-1222.
To reduce the possibility of spreading coronavirus in the hospital, Saint
Michael’s has placed signage at all entrances requesting patients
and visitors with a fever and recent international travel to immediately
notify healthcare staff. In addition, all patients who are brought into
Saint Michael’s emergency room and clinics are now asked a series
of screening questions to determine if they are at risk for carrying the virus.
Saint Michael’s has drafted a comprehensive plan that details how
to handle a patient with a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus.
The hospital has negative pressure rooms where patients can be isolated,
preventing the spread of infection to other patients.
Patients who have symptoms of the coronavirus should contact their medical
provider first. Coronavirus symptoms are similar to the flu and may include
fever, cough and shortness of breath.
While there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus yet, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyday preventive actions to
help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases in general, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially
after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose,
coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular
household cleaning spray or wipe.
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to
protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks
should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent
the spread of the disease to others.