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Vanderbilt University Medical Center setting up temporary COVID-19 screening area

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Posted at 11:14 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 12:14:11-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Vanderbilt University Medical Center is constructing a temporary screening area for possible COVID-19 patients. Vanderbilt officials said the temporary screening area is not intended as a location to provide care.

They said the hospital has not yet developed their own test for COVID-19, also known as the new coronavirus. However, in the coming days their lab will have the capability to perform the same test as the one used by TDOH and the CDC.

Vanderbilt reiterated that only patients who meet CDC criteria will be tested.

If a patient tests positive, it would depend on their symptoms and overall condition where they would undergo care.

Vanderbilt has a dedicated hotline for its patients and employees who are concerned they could be ill with the disease COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus. This number is (888) 312-0847. This line is active seven days a week, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

More information from Vanderbilt:

Before calling, please consider that if you do not have symptoms and would not ordinarily see your doctor based on how you feel now, you do not need evaluation or testing for COVID-19.

At this time, VUMC clinicians will not test patients for COVID-19 who are not exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

However, if you are a VUMC patient or employee and feel that you are ill, please call the hotline at (888) 312-0847 to be screened.

If you have respiratory symptoms (cough, sneezing, difficulty breathing), please call any clinic before you arrive, so that you can be given a mask before entering the facility.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.