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Clinical Alerts

COVID-19: What To Know

All Locations

Last Updated: February 14, 2020

What you need to know

New Jersey currently has no confirmed COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the U.S. is now reporting 15 COVID-19 cases in seven states (Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington).

The World Health Organization (WHO) gave the 2019 novel coronavirus a new name: COVID-19. The CO stands for corona, the VI for virus and the D for disease.

The virus has sickened more than 64,000 people globally and killed more than 1,380. Case count jumped recently due to a change in China’s diagnostic criteria. The majority of cases and deaths have occurred in Hubei Province.

The U.S. government has declared COVID-19 a public health emergency. U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. who have been in China’s Hubei province in the past two weeks will be subject to a mandatory quarantine for up to 14 days. U.S. citizens returning from mainland China in the past two weeks will be screened and then face up two 14 days of monitored self-quarantine. The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory to not travel to China due to the outbreak. Flights arriving from China are being diverted to 11 U.S. airports, including Newark Liberty International Airport and JFK International Airport.

The CDC released revised criteria to guide evaluation of patients under investigation: Click here to check out the criteria.

The Respiratory Pathogen Panel (RPP) PCR assay only detects common coronaviruses. This assay does not test for and cannot detect COVID-19, SARS, or MERS. The CDC is releasing diagnostic test kits to 200 labs in the U.S., including state and local health departments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. At least 28 countries and territories are reporting at least one novel coronavirus patient. Transmission from asymptomatic cases has been documented.

Screening for Novel Coronavirus Infections

HMH has updated COVID-19 screening questions to the Epic travel screen section of the admission navigator.This is now live for our inpatient, ambulatory and Emergency Departments. You can find information on these new questions in the “What’s New…?” message board on the Learning Home Dashboard for all the specialty applications. You can view the CDC’s flowchart for assessing and identifying the COVID-19 by clicking here.

The simple travel screen questions to use are:

  1. Do you have new onset of fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath)?
  2. Did you travel to mainland China within 14 days of onset of your symptoms or have you had close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19 (Wuhan, China) strain? If yes:
    1. Place a surgical face mask on the patient.
    2. Move to a negative pressure room, or, if unavailable, a private single room with the door closed. Limit room access to only essential team members involved in the patient’s care.
    3. Initiate airborne and contact precautions. Team members should not double mask, double gown or double glove.
    4. Notify infection prevention and your local health department. To find your local health department’s contact information click here for an interactive map or click here to download N.J.’s Directory of Local Health Departments.

Hackensack Meridian Health Infection Prevention Teams




If you have a suspected case, please wear the following personal protective equipment:

Watch these quick videos on proper donning and doffing of protective equipment.

Download the CDC’s Sequence for Putting on Personal Protective Equipment.

CDC Interim U.S. Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with COVID-19

Practice Respiratory Etiquette

Patient and visitors may visit our facilities with a cough or flu-like illness. If these individuals must visit, then they should:


Infection Prevention will continue to monitor the outbreak and provide updates as necessary.  If you have questions or concerns, please email


HMH COVID-19 Alert Flyer

Additional Resources