Feb 10, 2020 - Health

U.S. hospitals begin preparing for the coronavirus

A health worker at Suizhou Central Hospital in Suizhou, China. Photo: Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via Getty Images

Even though the risk to Americans remains low, hospitals across the U.S. are making sure they're ready for the coronavirus, STAT reports.

Why it matters: If the virus does spread within the U.S., hospitals being caught flat-footed would be a travesty.

Details: Hospitals across the country are checking their emergency preparedness plans and meeting almost every day. They're making sure they have the staffing and supplies they'd need, reviewing inventories and educating staff on emergency protocols.

  • But as the New York Times notes, there's some concern about the fact that China supplies the U.S. with many vital medical supplies and medications.

What they're saying: "As we project outward with the potential for this to be a much longer situation, one of the things that we're actively working on is projecting the long-term needs for our health care system," Nancy Messonnier, director of Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on Wednesday.

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Stuart Marcus, chief clinical officer of Amita Health Chicago, briefs the media regarding the second confirmed case of Wuhan Coronavirus in the U.S., Jan. 24, outside St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Photo: Derek R. Henkle/AFP via Getty Images

Six Americans — in California (2), Arizona, Washington state, and Chicago (2) — have the novel coronavirus that's been spreading from China, as of Thursday according to the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.

What they're saying: "We need to prepare as if this is a pandemic, but we hope it is not," Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease told a press conference on Sunday.

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National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Nancy Messonnier speaks during a press conference on the coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The risk of U.S. residents becoming infected by the coronavirus that's devastating China remains low right now, public health officials said Monday, even as there's growing pressure to ramp up U.S. and international pandemic preparedness.

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The first U.S. case of the new coronavirus that's killed at least six people and caused illness in multiple countries has been confirmed in Washington state.

The latest: In an effort to stem the spread of the deadly virus in America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is rolling out a "funneling" of flights directly or indirectly from Wuhan, China, to five specific airports where screenings will be done, adding Chicago and Atlanta to prior designated screening airports.

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