INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The threat of the coronvirus spreading to Indiana has local hospitals on high alert.
One of Indiana’s largest hospitals has revealed how it’s preparing for a potential case.
Officials with IU Health Methodist said they have already had one person walk through their doors with symptoms they thought could be the coronavirus. The patient turned out to be OK, but hospital officials know the first case is just a matter of time.
“We are taking really unprecedented steps for us. This has certainly been one of the largest outbreaks that I’ve prepared for in my career,” said Dr. Cole Beeler, an infectious disease specialist with IU Health.
IU Health Methodist Hospital prepares for coronavirus
Beeler says the hospital has had daily meetings about the potential for the coronavirus.
Officials have been training staff on how to set up airborne isolation rooms and hospital checkpoints, and to keep an eye out for potential patients who could be infected and don’t know it.
“That takes us making sure we are setting up gates of entry where we are asking patients questions about travel and about potential symptoms. These are at the ER (emergency room) and anytime you walk into the hospital,” Beeler said.
Officials also are planning for an influx of potential patients that the hospital may have never seen before.
“To prepare for what we call ‘surge,’ we are expecting worst-case scenario here. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be worst-case scenario, but we are anticipating seeing a lot of COVID patients.”
With the virus already spreading throughout the country, there have been no confirmed cases in Indiana yet.
In the meantime, Beeler says, Methodist is ready.
“Right now, the main enemy is fear. If it’s just a matter of when it comes, we just want to be able to make sure that we are able to receive it when it comes here. take care of our patients and make sure they are safe if they develop this infection,” Beeler said.
The doctor says once the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approves testing for the virus, doctors can use the tests to track the virus, giving them a better idea of just how many cases there are.