Hospital will begin screening some patients for coronavirus exposure

The Daily Times staff

FARMINGTON — In response to the spread of the coronavirus, San Juan Regional Medical Center officials have announced they will begin screening patients for respiratory symptoms and recent travel to China as a precaution.

According to a press release issued Jan. 31, patients visiting the hospital's emergency department and San Juan Health Partners Urgent Care facilities will be asked travel-related questions designed to assess their risk for exposure to the virus, which had six confirmed cases in the United States as of the date of the release.

Hospital officials say those who may have been exposed to the virus include anyone who has traveled to China within the last 14 days and those who have been in contact with someone who recently was in China. Symptoms of the virus include fever and lower respiratory symptoms, including coughing, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

Anyone who shows up in the hospital's emergency department or a San Juan Health Partners Urgent Care facility displaying any of those symptoms will be asked to put on a mask immediately, the press release states. The masks are intended to serve as a precaution to minimize exposure to other patients, visitors and staff members.

The hospital also emphasized that people who are not ill should not come to the hospital's emergency department, given the virus' ability to spread from person to person. To reduce potential exposures and protect themselves and others, hospital officials say, only patients and their immediate caregivers should visit the emergency department.

The release states the emergency preparedness teams at the hospital are closely monitoring the coronavirus while communicating with the New Mexico Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Health care