Tahoe hospitals urge caution amid Coronavirus | SierraSun.com

Tahoe hospitals urge caution amid Coronavirus

Hannah Jones

Tahoe Forest Health System is encouraging residents to take preventative measures amid two outbreaks of COVID-19, or coronavirus, and one death in Placer County.

“So much of this is unknown because it’s new,” said Paige Thomason, a spokesperson for Tahoe Forest Health System, adding that residents should not panic and stay up to date on information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If somebody is concerned about this they should make sure they understand what the symptoms are,” she said. These include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

“Fever is one of them,” said Thomason. “That’s something that you don’t always have with common cold.”

“The things that prevent this are the easiest to do, but also the hardest things to do.”— Paige ThomasonTahoe Forest Health System spokesperson

People who are older or who have other existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, may be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with the new coronavirus, according to a release from the Tahoe Forest Health System.

If a North Tahoe region resident tests positive for the virus, Thomason said they are prepared to treat patients at their facilities and are currently screening patients who have symptoms of the flu.

“The things that prevent this are the easiest to do, but also the hardest things to do,” said Thomason. These include staying home and avoiding close contact with people if you’re actively sick, covering coughs with your elbow and washing hands frequently.

“That is the best advice that can be given is to protect and prevent,” she said. “It’s just good hygiene practice and good prevention practice.”

Thomason said Tahoe Forest staff meets regularly with the county health department, sometimes daily, to “stay on top of new developments.”

“We’re meeting and monitoring this very closely,” she said.

A restriction has also been placed on hospital visitors who may be sick. The Tahoe Forest Health System will be keeping its website up to date with the latest information on the virus from the Nevada County and the Centers for Disease Control.

On Wednesday Placer County reported that a elderly resident of the county with underlying health conditions had died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Placer County now has two confirmed cases of the virus. Wednesday’s reported death is the first from the illness in California. The patient tested positive for the virus on Tuesday and was believed to have been exposed while on a cruise from San Francisco to Mexico.

This came after Placer County confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on Monday. The patient is a health care worker who had close contact with a confirmed case in Solano County.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has since declared a state of emergency in California over the virus.

Nevada and Placer counties on Wednesday declared local health emergencies in response to the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. The declarations allow the county access to additional resources such as mutual aid, financial reimbursement and increased coordination with state and local partners.

“We expect to see additional cases in coming days, including cases of community spread, not linked to travel,” said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “We are declaring these emergencies … so we will be able to activate and deploy resources to adequately respond to an increase in cases.”

For more information, visit http://www.placer.ca.gov/coronavirus.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.

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