CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As the Coronavirus continues to spread, hospitals will be at the forefront of the battle against the virus. During President Trump's National Emergency Declaration on Friday, he ordered all hospitals around the nation to have an emergency preparedness plan in place.
KRIS 6 News is looking into how Driscoll Children's Hosptal is preparing. Doctors there say they already have a plan in place, and there are three levels to that plan. Currently, the hospital is in level one of the plan, which is the least severe.
"My message is that we are doing well right now," said Dr. Jaime Fergie, an infectious disease doctor at Driscoll. "We are prepared, and I see no need for anybody to panic over this."
Doctors say level one of the plan includes posting signage with the symptoms of COVID-19, advising people who are sick to stay home, and if people have traveled internationally in the past two weeks, to let hospital staff know.
Dr. Mary Dale Peterson, the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Driscoll, also said in level one planning staff are also "limiting the number of visitors to two at a time, and asking people who are sick to not come and visit."
If an outbreak occurs, the hospital will then move to a level two plan. When in level two, the hospital will designate a floor, specifically to treat people who have been diagnosed with the virus.
"We have a whole floor that we are equipping and designating in case it happens," said Dr. Peterson. "And that's the kind of planning we're going through and talking about as a hospital and looking at all of our personnel."
If it's needed, there are 22 rooms on the floor, that will accommodate a young patient and their parents. The hospital also hopes to have COVID-19 test kits available by then.
Level three is the most severe of the planning. In this level, staff will triage their patients, and doctors will determine which cases are more severe and make them a priority.
"We want to be able to provide protection to the community, for people to be safe and in case they need to come to the hospital, we'll be prepared to take care of the children," said Dr. Fergie.