There is a great deal of concern in Houston County regarding the coronavirus and its impact on our community. At Houston Healthcare we share those concerns and want to put you at ease.  We continue to be here for our community around the clock to care for your healthcare needs, whether they are related to the coronavirus or something else. Please understand that to date, we have not seen any coronavirus patients in Houston County, and we are following all guidelines to keep our community safe.

While coronavirus (COVID-19) is new, preparing for responses to disasters is not. Houston Healthcare conducts emergency preparedness training year-round and we routinely treat patients with infectious diseases. There are protocols in place to care for these patients while ensuring the safety of hospital staff, visitors and the larger community. We also share information and best practices with other healthcare facilities and deploy specific strategies that work best for our community.

From what we know now, most people who become infected with COVID-19 will not become seriously ill and will not need hospitalization. Those with serious illness may need hospital care, including respiratory support. Currently most hospitals are operating normally with planned procedures happening as scheduled.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may resemble the common cold or seasonal flu. Influenza is an annual problem and continues to be a greater risk to your health this year. The best way to prevent infection with any respiratory virus is to use the same preventative strategies used during a normal cold and flu season: get a flu shot, wash hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness until they resolve.

Persons who have traveled from affected countries/areas in the past 14 days and have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek medical care, and should contact their healthcare provider and inform them of their travel history before going in.

The same measures that are urged to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus are increasingly important for all Georgians:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • The best prevention against the flu is vaccination. Flu is still widespread and active in Georgia – it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

Things you should know:

  • Masks will not prevent you from getting the virus, but they can help prevent the spread of the illness because they stop big droplets from sneezes and coughs from becoming airborne or contaminating surfaces.
  • Most cases of COVID-19 will not mean hospitalization, or even a trip to an emergency room. Hospital care is a precious resource that needs to be reserved for those with the most serious symptoms.
  • Follow the advice of public health to prevent infection, these are common sense steps like washing your hands, not touching your face, staying home when you are sick, coughing or sneezing into a tissue and throwing that tissue away.
  • If you are sick, stay home and manage your symptoms as you would any cold.
  • If your symptoms become worse, contact your primary care provider for symptom evaluation.
  • Continue to see your provider for regularly scheduled visits to address your other health care needs. Do not neglect your existing needs.

For more information, visit these websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Georgia Department of Public Health

Georgia Hospital Association