From left are Rotary President Peter Strawitz, new Rotary Secretary Barbara Buroker, Rotarian Renee Brown, and Jennifer Feucht from Mercy Regional Medical Center. (Gazette photo by Tony Marks)
Rotary gets the sniffles
Learning about proper hand hygiene and other important information about infections in the age of coronavirus was the Rotary Club of Ville Platte as it met Tuesday.
Speaking to the club was Jennifer Feucht, the director of infection prevention at Mercy Regional Medical Center.
Feucht stated hand hygiene is the number one way prevent any infection. She went over some best practices and said hand sanitizers are effective as long as they contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
Feucht went on to discuss specific prevention methods when it comes to the coronavirus. Topping the list was masking. “Cloth masks are acceptable,” she said, “but we recommend wearing surgical or N95 masks because of a higher level of prevention.”
She added masks help reduce the spread of the virus but are not fool proof. “They reduce the viral load that you potentially intake,” Feucht said. “The virus can remain in the air which is why we want to wear our masks and to also shield that cough or sneeze.”
Another prevention method is social distancing. Feucht explained it is necessary to stay six feet apart because viruses can travel three to four feet in the air when a person coughs or sneezes. Because of the size of the virus, it will fall to the ground when it passes that four foot threshold.
According to Feucht, a lot of the people who test positive the coronavirus show very mild like flu symptoms such as headaches and soar throats. Others who test positive are asymptomatic.
“Some people are testing without showing symptoms and are coming back positive,” Feucht said. “That is because the viral load was not high enough to make them feel sick, but the testing did detect it.”
When it comes to testing, Feucht said a lot of employers are requiring negative tests for an employee to return to work. However, as she explained, that is no longer being recommended because “someone who is positive can remain positive and asymptomatic for a month. These people need to get back to work. The economy has to keep going.”
Feucht said medical professionals are encouraging asymptomatic employees who tested positive to return to work but to also self-report and monitor symptoms.
As the coronavirus lingers, Feucht said the hospitals are filling up and the hospital here in Ville Platte is transferring patients to New Orleans. But, on the bright side, “the demand for ventilators is not as high as it once was,” said Feucht.
The good news about the coronavirus, as Feucht expressed, is “the virus is easy to kill by common household cleaners that break down the DNA of that virus.