Local urgent care center running drills to prepare staff for possible coronavirus COVID-19 cases

WYNCOTE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Officials have said it's not a matter of if - but when - we'll start to see more community-spread cases of COVID-19.

That means all medical centers need to be on alert, including local urgent care centers. These days, many people go to them first when they're sick.

They'll be asking anyone with mild symptoms to call ahead first, but we know that doesn't always happen.

That's why one local urgent care center is running drills to make sure staff is ready.

The mock drill took place at American Family Care, or AFC Urgent Care in Wyncote. Healthcare providers practiced how to handle a patient possibly infected with novel Coronavirus.

Dr. Yan Kiriakov says anyone with flu-like symptoms, recent travel, or contact with anyone who has visited affected areas will be asked to put a mask on to protect other patients and then immediately placed in a separate exam room.

The provider will then don personal protective gear or PPE, following proper protocol. That includes an N-95 respirator mask.

"It works really well to filter out smaller droplets," said Dr. Kiriakov.

It also creates a tighter seal than a surgical mask. The N-95 is recommended for healthcare workers. But overall, masks are not recommended for the general public.

Other gear includes a gown, eye shield and of course, gloves.

If a patient is suspected to have the virus, the providers will keep him or her in isolation and call the health department.

As for testing, we know New Jersey and Delaware are equipped to start testing. Pennsylvania hopes to be ready by the end of the week.
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