Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.
Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. For more information on the virus, please contact the health department.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- New Mexico Department of Health
- New Mexico Hospital Association
Hygiene Reminders from the CDC
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,
- Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
- Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
- Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. Learn more here.
How to use hand sanitizer
- Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
For more information, visit the CDC website.
- Who is at risk?
The risk to the general public remains low at this time. Right now, influenza is a much more significant threat to Americans. Protect yourself from the flu - it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.
Evidence to date indicates those most at risk for becoming ill with COVID-19 are:
- Those in close contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, including healthcare workers and
- Those who have traveled in the past 14 days in countries or cities with ongoing community spread of the virus.
The CDC Travel Health Notices website provides a list of countries with sustained COVID-19 transmission.
Travelers returning from one of the countries with community spread of COVID-19 should monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, including cough and shortness of breath, for 14 days after they return from one of those countries.
- What are the symptoms?
Patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- Shortness of breath
- Are there different strains of coronavirus?
Yes, there are seven different coronaviruses known to infect humans.
- Four of the seven coronaviruses are very common, more mild (similar to the common cold), and most people will be infected with at least one of them in their lifetime. Healthcare providers test for these common coronaviruses routinely, and no public health measures are needed to address these common coronaviruses. People infected with the common coronaviruses can avoid passing them to others by covering their coughs and sneezes, cleaning their hands frequently and containing germs by staying home when ill.
- Three of the seven coronaviruses are rare and can cause more severe illness; this includes COVID-19. Testing for this virus can only be done at CDC; healthcare providers are not able to test for this virus independent of the public health department.
- What should I do if I have traveled to an area with the infection and feel sick?
If you have had exposure to a known case or traveled to a country with community spread and developed a fever or respiratory symptoms, please isolate yourself at home from others and contact the New Mexico Department of Public Health or the local health department before seeking medical care. If you need immediate medical care, contact your healthcare provider to describe your symptoms and any recent travels before you go to the healthcare facility.
- How can I protect myself?
While there is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus and those with the virus can seek medical care to relieve symptoms. There are simple, everyday actions you can take to help prevent spreading germs that cause respiratory viruses. These include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet, or within the room or care area, of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). Close contact can also include caring for, living with, visiting or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case. Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (such as being coughed on) while not wearing recommended PPE.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.