St. John's Riverside Hospital details plans, preparation for coronavirus patients

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While New York is clear of any coronavirus patients to this point, a local hospital is ready to go should things take a turn for the worse.

At St. John's Riverside Hospital, staff is doing what they can to gear up for a potential coronavirus epidemic.

"It probably is only a matter of time before we do see some more of these cases in the United States," says Dr. Paul Sasso.

The hospital is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from basic hygiene to triage patients for coronavirus symptoms.

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Signs are posted throughout the hospital to help identify patients or visitors who may be at risk. A second screening process in the emergency department focuses on recent travel to endemic areas or contact with those infected.

New York has no confirmed cases, but plans to brace for a local outbreak have escalated after a push from federal officials.

St. John's says the key is preparedness, which includes a secure inventory of protective gear like masks and gloves.

"At this point in time, we're very well-equipped to handle this as well as the other respiratory illnesses that we're dealing with this time of year," says Sasso.

Doctors say with it already being in the middle of flu season, everyone should be extra mindful to wash their hands for about a minute because it is the best way to prevent sickness.

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