Chamber, Union Hospital team up to take COVID-19 questions

Tribune-Star/Howard GreningerQ&A: Dr. Jackie Holder, medical director and a pediatrician at Union Hospital, and Dr. Randy Stevens, medical director of the hospital’s Center of Occupational Health and a family medicine doctor, answer questions for businesses. Union and the the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce set up the Friday online discussion on the impact of the COVID-19 virus. 

Terre Haute is home to a federal correctional complex, which houses more than 2,600 inmates and 685 staff.

Could the COVID-19 virus impact heating, ventilation and cooling systems in such a compound? That was one question from the federal Bureau of Prisons during an online session Friday as Union Hospital teamed with the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce to answer business concerns.

Coronavirus is spread through water droplets from a cough or a sneeze as well as contact, such as on a door handle, said Dr. Jackie Holder, medical director and a pediatrician at Union Hospital. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no current evidence to suggest that coronavirus spreads through air-handling systems.

“If you can keep a 6-foot separation between individuals, that is the best advice,” Holder said.

Hooker said it is important that people with symptoms self-isolate to keep the number of coronavirus cases to a minimum.

The online session had 47 participants from some companies such as Allura, B&G Foods Inc., Casey’s General Stores, Novelis, TBM Building Services as well as institutions such as Indiana State University and the Ivy Tech Foundation.

Another question asked was, “What do you tell other food service workers when a co-worker is being treated, do other employees get to keep working?”

Dr. Randy Stevens, medical director of the hospital’s Center of Occupational Health and a family medical doctor, answered by saying “it would not be prudent just because a person was at home ill, to have everybody else exposed to that person also stay home, especially if they have zero symptoms themselves. If people have runny noses, that is not from this virus,” he said.

Stevens said about 80% percent of people who get the virus will have mild symptoms, while 14% will have severe symptoms such as pneumonia, while 5% will be serious cases that could include respiratory failure.

However, 99% of people with the virus will have a fever, while 70% will have fatigue and another 59% dry cough. About 40% of those infected will have a loss of appetite and 35% muscle aches and 31% will experience labored breathing, Holder said, citing CDC data.

Stevens said tests for coronavirus are being reserved for those who are severely ill. Union Hospital has tested 26 people for COVID-19, with six people testing negative, Stevens said Friday morning.

The hospital expects to know results of more of those tests within a week. However, the hospital has had the first confirmed test of coronavirus in Vigo County, Stevens said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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