Denver Health on coronavirus: Wash hands, stay away from those with symptoms, continue daily routines

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DENVER (KDVR) -- Denver Health Medical Center said Thursday it is preparing for the possibility of the novel coronavirus making its way to Colorado. Currently, no confirmed cases have been reported in the state.

According to DHMC, the coronavirus mortality rate is between 3% and 4%. Outside China -- the source of the virus -- the morality rate is between 1% and 2%.

By comparison, the flu mortality rate is 0.1%.

DHMC said healthy Coloradans should continue going about their daily routines. However, they should wash hands frequently and stay away from people suffering from coronavirus symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms can appear in as few as two days or in as many as 14 days after exposure.

"I’m not sure if you can get novel coronavirus twice,” said Dr. Heather Young, DHMC's medical director of infection prevention. “Generally, people wouldn’t get the same virus twice because your body has built up immunity to it.”

DHMC says people with symptoms should get medical attention. They should stay home from work and wear a surgical mask in public if they feel ill.

DHMC says it has been ensuring there is enough protective equipment for medical staff. It is also working to identify patients who may have symptoms very early on. Finally, it is communicating internally and externally about best practices regarding the virus.

DHMC has the capability to quarantine people in 60-70 airborne isolation rooms.

Young said if the virus hits Colorado, "we’re going to have to cross that bridge when we get to it and really rely on our public health colleagues to help us know what’s the best way to prevent our community from getting sick."

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