Omaha, Douglas County leaders update coronavirus preparedness

 Mayor Jean Stothert
Mayor Jean Stothert (WOWT)
Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 7:13 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Douglas County officials spoke at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday over preparations for the spreading coronavirus.

Officials with Douglas County have been preparing for the

If you think you have coronavirus health care officials ask that you don’t just show up at the hospital emergency department.

A patient who tested positive for the virus was out in the public at a few different locations before being checked and eventually taken to the Med Center for treatment.

Douglas County officials are still investigating to determine how many people might have been exposed to the virus.

“The health department during the course of this response has worked with over 500 individuals and among those, we have 298 individuals who are in-home quarantine and another 44 that are being actively monitored,” said Carol Allensworth with the Douglas County Health Department.

Health care providers want you to pick up the phone call first if you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of the virus.

“For those individuals who believe they have been exposed to coronavirus and are experiencing symptoms that should be contacting one of the health systems hotline numbers or their health care provider to discuss the next steps,” said Josie Abboud, President, and CEO of Methodist Hospital and Women’s Hospital.

If the next step involves a test for the virus. Officials say who picks up the tab for the test depends on who administers the test.

“At this point in time if I understand correctly if it goes through the Nebraska Public Health Lab that is covered by health funds now that more and more test are becoming available thru other sectors big laboratories and stuff it's very likely that those test at that point and time would go to their insurance,” said Abboud.

Health care officials say hospital staff are also exposed to the virus when patients with symptoms just walk into the emergency room.

Methodist Hospital officials tell us, the patient did walk into their emergency room before being transferred to the Med Center. They had five individuals tested and all five have been negative. The employees will still remain under quarantine until they pass the 14 day period.