Danbury Hospital Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Gov. Lamont Confirms
Officials have confirmed that an employee who works at both Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital has tested positive for Coronavirus.
In a press conference Friday night (March 6) at Danbury City Hall, Governor Lamont, Mayor Mark Boughton spoke alongside various health officials from the State of Connecticut, Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital to address the situation and keep the public informed.
Officials report that the woman who has tested positive for COVID-19 is from Westchester County, and due to the HIPPA privacy rule, will remain unidentified. She began treatment for the virus immediately, she has been removed from the workplace, self-quarantined, and officials assured the public that the limited amount of people that the woman has had contact with have been placed on a furlough from the hospital for the standard 14 days.
Danbury Hospital reminds the public that that they "take care of infectious diseases everyday," and that their "staff is very well prepared to do so. We want the community to remain calm, remember to wash hands, don't touch your face, stay home if you feel sick, and to follow any precautionary guidelines that the CDC has put into place (see below)."
The hospital also said that their teams are currently working tirelessly to identify any and all people who need to be notified of potential COVID-19 exposure, and that anyone who is identified will be treated accordingly, using the proper guidelines.
The COO of Danbury Hospital noted that the facility has been preparing for the potential outbreak since mid-January, and feels both comfortable and confident that they can ultimately keep our communities safe.
Hospital officials also noted that Danbury has handled situations like this in the past and that this is, in no way, a time to panic. While Danbury Hospital and emergency medical services will remain open, do not go to the emergency room if you are feeling well, as an overabundance of patients who may not necessarily need medical care can impede the hospital workers from doing their jobs effectively.
Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Health Renee Coleman-Mitchell said that the outbreak of COVID-19 has not been "a matter of if, but when," and that outside of this particular instance, which is considered to be in New York, 42 specimens to date have been tested within Connecticut, all of which have returned negative results. state is restricting test to those are very ill. She also reminds the public that any resident that is not currently showing symptoms of the virus (two or three days of fever, cough, and shortness of breath) can dial 211 at any time with any basic questions.
At press time, the State of Connecticut has one test kit for the virus that can be used on up to 600 people, but Governor Lamont has applied for another kit, which is expected to be in the state's hands early next week. Residents were reminded that anyone who wishes to be tested can do so through private organizations such as Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp.
The City of Danbury's Mayor Mark Boughton took to the podium to thank Governor Lamont's office for being "ahead of the curve on this all the way through," and continued by saying, "Look, we got this. It's going to be a little unnerving and scary, but at the end of the day, we're going to be okay, we're on it and we'll manage it."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.