Healthcare workers follow careful procedures to protect themselves from coronavirus

WYNNEWOOD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The pace is nonstop at hospitals around the Philadelphia region as healthcare providers prepare for the spread of coronavirus.

"We do not want our patients, or our healthcare workers, to be ill because of this virus, so its a full-court press," said Dr. Mark Ingerman, Chief of Infectious Disease and Preventative Medicine for Main Line Health.

Ingerman explained Main Line Health has a command unit in Radnor, which holds phone call briefings twice a day to go over policies and procedures.

"Here it's an unknown virus," said Ingerman. "We have no vaccine, we have no treatment and we don't know about the epidemiology of it. We don't know how it will spread or how many people will be involved."

Main Line Health Nurse Olivia Hertzler explained that health care workers use a donning procedure when interacting with patients suspected of coronavirus. The procedure involves putting on personal protective equipment covering the body, eyes, face and mouth.

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"This protects you from inhaling whatever may be in the air versus if it was just like the flu, which is droplet precautions," said Hertzler.

Hertzler explained when a suspected patient arrives, he or she immediately puts on a mask and is taken to a negative air pressure room, which doesn't recycle any air back into the hallways.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all healthcare workers stay home if they feel sick and make sure they are stocked up on supplies.

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COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, which was when the first cases were reported.

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