On Sunday, March 22nd, the Whitman County Health Department reported the first positive case of Covid-19 in Whitman County. At the same time, WSU students, although in much smaller numbers, returned to Pullman. As the Chief Medical Officer at Pullman Regional Hospital, I and my colleagues, are imploring people to take seriously the plea by government officials and healthcare professionals to stay home and practice social distancing.
If you are sick, stay home. If you are well, stay home. If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, mainly fever above 100.4, cough and shortness of breath, and you feel too sick to stay home, call your doctor for an initial assessment.
Social distancing does not mean playing basketball in the park with your friends or hanging out with people in an apartment. It does mean frequently washing your hands for 20 seconds, staying at least 10 feet away from people, going out only for groceries or supplies at low peak times, and wiping down all surfaces that you touch often with disinfectant wipes.
Today, we open a Covid-19 Triage & Testing Center that will be here every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone concerned that they may have symptoms. It’s located at the back of the hospital near the Emergency Department. We will screen people in their cars. Those who have symptoms or who are at high risk will be brought into an isolation area of the ED and be further assessed. Not everyone will be tested for the virus. You may be told to go home and self-isolate or you may be tested. We ask that you be patient with this process as we will be improving it each day.
We also ask you to be calm. Pullman Regional Hospital and the medical community has been preparing for the pandemic and possible cases of COVID-19. The situation is evolving daily, and we are adapting and changing every day. Our mission is to care for sick patients and keep you, the public and our staff safe.
The Triage Center was established to assess patients and keep our community and patients in the clinics and Emergency Department safe.
Please visit our Coronavirus Resource Page for important updates and information.
Meanwhile, you play the greatest role in keeping the virus from spreading. This is your chance to do your part. Practice effective social distancing.
Gerald L Early, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.C.C.P,
Chief Medical and Innovation Officer
Pullman Regional Hospital