Friend Community Healthcare Systems held an informational session about COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, March 12 in its cafeteria.
Friend native Rachel Taylor, who is now a microbiologist at Siemens Healthcare in Lincoln, spoke to an estimated 20-30 people in attendance.
Taylor reviewed symptoms of the respiratory disease, including fever, cough and trouble breathing. She said while most people develop mild symptoms, those of an older age (50+) are more severely affected.
“We’re not sure why but COVID-19 seems to not affect younger children or newborns,” Taylor said.
She reviewed prevention tactics, such as washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer and avoiding touching the facial area.
Taylor emphasized the importance of practicing social distancing, which according to the John Hopkins Medicine website, means working from home if possible, cancelling/not attending events of large numbers and cancelling face-to-face classes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported March 16 there are 1,629 cases confirmed in the United States, most of which are mild.
Taylor said this worries those in a healthcare profession like herself because since symptoms aren’t as severe, people are not taking the illness as seriously as they should, leaving open pathways for the virus to spread.
“Both old and young have a job to do and that is try like hell to avoid getting this,” Taylor said.
The staff at FCHS does have a way of sending tests to the University of Nebraska Medical Center if needed. Contact the hospital at (402) 947-2541 if you are showing symptoms or have any health concerns.