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Gundersen Health System prepares staff to treat patients with Coronavirus



In the wake of the spreading Coronavirus, Gundersen Health System held a special training Tuesday to help prepare staff to care for infected patients.

The information was available for not only Gundersen staff but also community members who wished to learn more about COVID 19.

Megan Meller, infection control practitioner at Gundersen Health System

“It is just reassuring for them,” Megan Meller, infection control practitioner at Gundersen Health System, said. “We’re also in between offering hands-on training sessions. It’s really giving people a time to ask those one-on-one questions and try on their personal protective gear in a very calm environment truly feel prepared for when it does come turn come to our community.”

Meller noted a key priority is to protect the health care workers who will be caring for those infected with the virus.

“In addition to travelers, they are some of the most at-risk people,” Meller said. “We can’t lose staff to this.”

The training highlighted infection control techniques such as hand hygiene and enforcing the hospital’s sick protocol.

Patients that enter the facility with respiratory symptoms will be encouraged to first call ahead or check in using the app.

“We’re fortunate that patients are calling in,” Meller said. “With the app, they can check in right before they get into the clinic. That is really going to help minimize some of that exposure that might happen within the lobby. It also gives staff a heads up as to what is potentially coming in.”

Staff will also ask those with respiratory concerns to wear a droplet mask that will be available at all entrances. Symptoms of COVID 19 tend to mirror influenza, according to Meller, so they will test for Coronavirus while also testing for influenza.

Anyone who does have a cough is asked to cough into their elbow. Meller said the virus does not live long on fabric, but experts are still determining how long it will live on hard surfaces.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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