Regardless of whether a person tests positive or negative for the coronavirus (COVID-19), the treatment course is the same, said Matt Thornton, CEO for Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center.
“If a person gets a positive result for COVID-19, they are going to be told to stay at home and keep away from other people,” Thornton said. “Treat the symptoms and then call your provider only if the symptoms become more serious. We don’t want or need people rushing to the emergency room with minor symptoms.”
A concern is that if an infected person enters an ER, they can contaminate others, including essential medical professionals who are needed on the job.
“If someone walks in my facility and coughs on a doctor, then that doctor is now in quarantine, so it’s very important that we keep people out of the facility unless they are having a true medical emergency. We are still doing our daily caseload, plus this,” he said. “If someone comes to the hospital who thinks they have coronavirus and the symptoms are serious enough, we are going to have that person wait in their car until we are ready to move them into isolation. The hospital has isolation capabilities in the event we get a case.”
Thornton understands the concerns people have about the illness, but stresses that so far no confirmed cases have been reported for Liberty County.
Asked about a rumor that a worker at the Dairy Queen restaurant in Dayton had contracted the illness, Thornton said some workers have been tested, but to say they have the illness is not factually correct.
“I believe the person is being tested but I don’t know if the test results are back or not,” he said.
When asked if Liberty County could actually have cases of coronavirus that have gone undetected, Thornton said it is possible and that it’s more about when, not if, a case will occur in Liberty County.
“There have been a number of cases that have been tested but it’s not in the thousands like in some of the neighboring counties,” he said.
He believes that having people stay in their home over the next two weeks will have a positive effect on the spread of the pandemic, but says the number of cases will rise first.
“People are just now showing signs of the illness after contracting it a week ago,” he said. “It is being publicly spread and we don’t know who is sick yet.”