The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Coronavirus Needs Caution, Not Fear


News reports indicate part of China is under quarantine, a reaction to the identification of a new virus in a community.

Reports varied from a biological weapon to a problem at an animal market. Sidney Regional Medical Center's Infection Control and Quality Manager Bob Kentner, MSN RN CPHQ, says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, as a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified.

The CDC says the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses on Feb. 11 first named the virus. It was first identified in Wuhan, China as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, shortened to SARS-CoV-2. The CDC says the understanding of how COVID-19 spreads is based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.

The first infections were related to a live animal market, according to the CDC. The report says the virus is now. Sidney Regional Medical Center's Infection Control and Quality Manager Bob Kentner, MSN RN CPHQ, says how the virus started will be unknown until “Patient 0” is located. However, it is believed it is related to bats. Kentner says the virus is transmitted by air and fluids, similar to SARS or a common flu.

“I don't think they've identified Patient 0,” he said.

Identifying Patient 0 would help health officials identify how the virus started and better understand

He said much of the treatments and preventions are similar to what most people are taught as children: wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing and stay home when sick.

He said the big concern is for children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. The CDC says “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” The website further says people are believed to be most contagious when they are the most symptomatic (sickest). It is, however, possible to spread the virus before symptoms are identified.

Kentner stresses proper hygiene practices and keeping surfaces clean as a means of prevention. Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and disinfect countertops and surfaces.

Kentner says officials are responding as if the virus is “really bad until proven otherwise.”

He added that Sidney Regional Medical Center does have the procedures in place if a serious contagion is identified in its service area; negative pressure rooms, protective clothing and breathing apparatus for responders.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services advises the best ways to prevent contracting COVID-19 include:

• Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Follow the same family plans and kits that people may use for flu season or severe weather season –


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