Wickenburg Community Hospital Responds to Rise of COVID-19 Cases with Community Safety Bulletin
Wickenburg, AZ, December 1st, 2020 – Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH) responds to the recent increase of COVID-19 positive cases in Arizona with community infection prevention guidelines, COVID-19 signs, symptoms, and testing information.
“COVID-19 numbers peaked over the summer but as we have seen schools start back to in person classes, additional businesses reopening and now with the arrival of our winter visitors to AZ , the number of cases of COVID-19 have once again started to increase. Wickenburg, and the surrounding communities, are also beginning to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases. With holidays and family gatherings beginning to occur, we wanted to take this opportunity to reinforce ways to celebrate and get through the winter season while using measures to help minimize or avoid being exposed to COVID-19.” Karen Smith RN, NMCC, LSSGB, Manager, Infection Prevention and Employee Health Chair, Safety Subcommittee, Wickenburg Community Hospital.
Infection Prevention Guidelines:
• The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet). Using physical distancing strategies helps minimize that close contact where droplets can transmit disease.
• Wear masks in public settings to reduce the potential for spreading the disease. The Maricopa Mask Mandate continues to be in effect.
• 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 that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Stay at home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) and immediately throw the tissue in the trash and disinfect your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Avoid congregating in groups. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
Symptoms and Severity:
Illness can be severe and require hospitalization, but most individuals recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking pain and fever-reducing medications. These symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure and can include:
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
• Other less common symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:
• Difficulty getting enough air
• Chest pain
• Change in alertness or responsiveness
• Bluish lips or face
• Rapid breathing
*These symptom lists are not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Available Testing for COVID-19
Testing at Wickenburg Community Hospital is limited to symptomatic testing at the clinics or Emergency Department. Rapid testing is not readily available to our organization which unfortunately means we cannot test community members who request a test but are not currently displaying symptoms. Currently our small cache of rapid tests are allocated to testing Emergency Department patients who need to be transferred to an Inpatient bed (either at our facility or to an outside facility) or for our Surgical Patients, as a requirement under the Governor’s Executive Order, to ensure our surgical patients are negative for disease prior to surgery.
The Maricopa County Health Department has a robust website that contains updated information on current statistics around COVID-19 for our state, county, and zip code. There is information around Community COVID-19 testing events being held around the county as well as defined testing sites around the state of AZ. The website is maricopa.gov/5588/COVID-19-Testing. (The site does have the ability to provide information in English and Spanish.
Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-07 which requires all Arizona-regulated insurers to cover COVID diagnostic testing from all qualified laboratories; waive all cost-sharing requirements related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing; and, cover telemedicine visits at a lower cost-sharing point for consumers than the same in-office service to encourage utilization of telemedicine for the duration of the state’s public health emergency. There are many places identified that have free testing for COVID-19; however, it does vary by provider, so it is important to ask ahead and check their website for details about any eligibility criteria or costs.