While the Philadelphia region has not officially had any local cases of the coronavirus, area health systems say they have taken steps over the past two months to prepare for any outbreak here, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.
The Philadelphia Department of Health said Tuesday night it is investigating a possible case of coronavirus in the city, but a diagnosis has not yet been confirmed.
Preparations by local medical facilities include working closely with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments, which are providing ongoing situation reports and risk assessment updates to hospitals and health systems. The measures have also consisted of ensuring they are well stocked with supplies, including personnel protective equipment.
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, causes respiratory illness and was identified in December during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. According to the World Health Organization, about 89,000 cases of the COVID-19 strain have been reported. The virus is responsible for more than 3,000 deaths, including nine in the United States.
Dr. Patrick J. Brennan, Penn Medicine’s chief medical officer and an infectious disease specialist, said the University of Pennsylvania health system, as a large academic institution, has “deep experience” preparing and caring for patients with communicable diseases.