Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.

Our clinical teams are trained on the proper procedures and protocols to minimize the risk of spreading any infectious disease, including COVID-19. If we have any reason to believe a patient may have the novel coronavirus, our providers immediately implement the appropriate infection control measures in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. These include masking and isolating the patient, donning personal protective equipment (PPE) – inclusive of an N95 respirator mask, eye protection, gown and gloves – and ensuring environmental hygiene.

COVID-19 Online Risk Assessment

To help support the health of our community, we are providing access to an online COVID-19 risk assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This tool does NOT provide a diagnosis, and it should NOT be used as a substitute for an assessment made by a healthcare provider.

Who is at risk?

The risk to the general public remains low at this time. Right now, influenza is a much more significant threat to Americans. Protect yourself from the flu - it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.

Evidence to date indicates those most at risk for becoming ill with COVID-19 are:
  • Those in close contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, including healthcare workers and
  • Those who have traveled in the past 14 days in countries or cities with ongoing community spread of the virus.

The CDC Travel Health Notices website provides a list of countries with sustained COVID-19 transmission.

Travelers returning from one of the countries with community spread of COVID-19 should monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, including cough and shortness of breath, for 14 days after they return from one of those countries.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath

If your symptoms require immediate medical attention and you plan to visit the hospital, your primary care provider or an urgent clinic, please CALL AHEAD before you go and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.

OR if you are experiencing a MEDICAL EMERGENCY related to COVID-19, Please CALL 911 and let the dispatch agent know that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19-related symptoms so that they are properly prepared to care for you and help ensure the safety of others.

Are there different strains of coronavirus?    

Yes, there are seven different coronaviruses known to infect humans.  

  • Four of the seven coronaviruses are very common, more mild (similar to the common cold), and most people will be infected needed to address these common coronaviruses. People infected with the common coronaviruses can avoid passing with at least one of them in their lifetime. Healthcare providers test for these common coronaviruses routinely, and no public health measures are them to others by covering their coughs and sneezes, cleaning their hands frequently and containing germs by staying home when ill. 
  • Three of the seven coronaviruses are rare and can cause more severe illness; this includes COVID-19. Testing for this virus can only be done at CDC; healthcare providers are not able to test for this virus independent of the public health department.
What should I do if I have traveled to an area with the infection and feel sick? 
 

If you have had exposure to a known case or traveled to a country with community spread and developed a fever or respiratory symptoms, please isolate yourself at home from others and contact the New Mexico Department of Public Health at (505)-827-0006 or the local health department before seeking medical care. If you need immediate medical care, contact your healthcare provider to describe your symptoms and any recent travels before you go to the healthcare facility.

How can I protect myself?         While there is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus and those with the virus can seek medical care to relieve symptoms. There are simple, everyday actions you can take to help prevent spreading germs that cause respiratory viruses. These include:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet, or within the room or care area, of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). Close contact can also include caring for, living with, visiting or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case. Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (such as being coughed on) while not wearing recommended PPE.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:

  • 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.

Memorial Medical Center has taken the following measures to prepare, in accordance with CDC guidelines:

  • Patients in the Emergency Department and inpatient units are screened based on their recent travel history.
  • Personal protective equipment is available, including face masks and eye protection, for example.
  • Hand hygiene products are easily accessible throughout the facility.

Importantly, all of the above are standard operating protocols that are in place year-round to help ensure the health and well-being of everyone who enters our hospital.

Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. For more information on the virus, please contact the health department.

Quick Links:

Additional Resources: