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Butte County health leaders address COVID-19 concerns

Butte County has zero cases of the coronavirus but that doesn’t mean the County is not preparing.

Posted: Mar 13, 2020 4:05 PM
Updated: Mar 13, 2020 4:08 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County has zero cases of the coronavirus but that doesn’t mean the County is not preparing.

CEO of Enloe Medical Center, Mike Wiltermood said he is extremely confident that the hospitals in Butte County are prepared.

Wiltermood tells us that the question being addressed and the issue is how do we redeploy the resources in the best possible way? One option would include having other services such as surgeries postponed. Enloe staff is also preparing for a possible surge of patients.

“We have plans to redeploy beds and available resources. Now, if it gets really dire were not going to have a place where we can offload or send patients out of the area because we’re all going to be impacted, so we have to figure that we're going to be reliant on the resources that we have here,” Wiltermood said.

Communications Manager of Butte County Public Health, Lisa Almaguer says even though, Butte County does not have test kits that does not mean people are not getting tested.

“The health care provider will collect a specimen and send that specimen to a commercial lab for COVID-19 testing. The lab will report any positive test to Butte County Public Health,” Almaguer said.

Enloe officials said they will be working closely with all hospitals and the Butte County Health Department as they continue to monitor the situation. 

RELATED: COVID-19 Important links and resources

Top officials from President Donald Trump to Governor Gavin Newsom are discouraging public gatherings. But what about the homeless? Action News Now took these matters to the Jesus Center to see what they're doing to keep the coronavirus from sweeping through the homeless and into the general population.

Jesus Center Executive Director, Laura Cootsona said they have a cleaning protocol in place. Cootsona said they’re giving out hand sanitizer to anyone who needs it. They’re also making sure the homeless have table tents to protect themselves from the virus.

The Jesus Center also reached out to Catalyst and tourist shelters to share ideas and best practices.

"Our typical protocol now at the Jesus Center if someone has a fever or typical flu symptoms we isolate them. So we do have a room in our shelter we can use for isolation and then given the virus, at this point, we would suggest if someone is really sick to reach out to a health care provider," Cootsona said.

Cootsona added she has reached out to Butte County Public Health to see if they can get some handwashing stations.

For now, the Jesus Center is still running as normal.

Action News Now also spoke to Butte County Public health official Dr. Andy Miller on Friday about COVID-19. Watch the video below.

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