Mayo Clinic in full preparation mode for the coronavirus

Alice Keefe
Updated: February 28, 2020 06:45 PM
Created: February 28, 2020 05:47 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Mayo Clinic is bracing for COVID-19, the strain of coronavirus that has put countries across the world on high-alert and has killed more than 2,000 people.

While doctors and public health officials around the world still don’t know much about how or why the virus is spreading, Mayo Clinic is already preparing for if and when a case comes to Rochester.

“We’re now in the phase of our preparedness to really start thinking about how do we do this as a pandemic, how do we make sure we’re able to really take care of as many patients as we can,” said Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases physician and researcher at Mayo Clinic.

For weeks now, Mayo Clinic has been planning and preparing for what will happen if they see patients with COVID-19.

“We have shifted our approach from taking care of one or two patients sort of situation, to one where we’re anticipating being able to take care of a large number of patients just as we did during the 2009 influenza pandemic from H1N1,” Dr. Tosh said.

In the past few weeks, Mayo Clinic has delayed appointments for patients where the virus has spread the most.

“At this point, patients who may be originating from China of South Korea, we’ve delayed their appointments, and this is in part to prevent a potential spread within our clinic, but also in our community,” Dr. Tosh said, adding that as the epidemic changes, Mayo Clinic will re-address its procedures

There’s not much known about how the disease spreads, but Dr. Tosh said to treat COVID-19 prevention the same as you would a cold or flu, by washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home if you’re sick.

“At this point it’s not recommended that the general population were a mask,” Dr. Tosh said, but added that if someone goes to the hospital for medical attention, that person should wear a mask to protect other people.

“We understand now that most people who get this disease have mild symptoms, and the people who ended up having more severe illness or even death, those are the people you would’ve expected to have severe illness from something like influenza,” Dr. Tosh said, adding that at this point he’s more concerned about an influenza outbreak than a coronavirus outbreak.



(ABC 6 News) - Mayo Clinic is bracing for COVID-19, the strand of the coronavirus that is putting countries across the world on high-alert. 

Friday, ABC 6 News spoke with Mayo Clinic about the particular strand, and what doctors know about it. As well as how doctors are preparing for it if, and when a case of the virus makes its way to Rochester. 

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