Local medical facilities are starting to respond to the threat of the coronavirus in a variety of ways. Some local care homes are turning away visitors while local hospitals are asking for common sense precautions.

Wednesday, World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus has become a pandemic and urged aggressive action. As a result, President Donald Trump issued a travel ban to all European countries with the exclusion of the UK.

As of Thursday, the ban does not affect freight and shipping.

Texoma Medical Center's Director of Infection Prevention and Emergency Preparedness Donna Glenn said both TMC and Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center have been coordinating to make sure that their responses to the threat of the spread of the virus is same.

Right now, she said they want people who are sick but who are not patients of the hospital to stay away.

“Don't come visit anyone if you are sick yourself,” she said.

There are signs posted at the hospital letting people know that they are not turning visitors away, but they are asking that visitors who want to come in are healthy and won't make the patients worse or infect staff.

Of course, she said the hospitals are also reminding people to wash their hands before entering and after they leave patient rooms and do all of the things common sense-wise stop the spread of both the coronavirus and things like the flu.

The emergency preparedness plan for each hospital has a number of levels, and the restrictions could change as the level of severity of the outbreak increases.

Back about ten years ago when the H1N1 outbreak was the concern, the hospitals did put some more significant restrictions in place.

“We try not to do that,” Glenn said of the hospital recognizing the importance of family to patient recovery. At the same time, the hospital also recognizes the importance of rest and as healthy an environment as they can provide.

The hospital tries to leave it up to the patient to tell relatives and visitors to stay home if they are not well. Glenn said it is good practice for when the patient goes home and then has to tell people not to visit if they are not well. And, there are a number of ways to keep in touch with an ailing family member without the risk of spreading illness, she continued.

Things like phone calls, texting and face-timing, call allow people to remain close without being risking the spread of illnesses. All of these things are also recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and WHO during this time.

Brookdale Willow Sherman is not restricting visitors yet. Business Office Director Sarah Potts said, “just encouraging hand washing.” The facility has hand sanitizer and face masks available at every entrance into the facility.

At the Woodlands Place in Denison, they are restricting visiting to just staff only at this time.

“It is just precautionary, there are no active cases here,” Assistant Director of Nursing Walt Watson said. He said that is the stance that has been taken by the chain of facilities to which Woodlands Place belongs.

For individuals concerned about visitation at other medical, rehab or nursing home facilities, call that specific facility to find out rules or added precautions to take as they are likely to change for some places as the outbreak of the virus grows or lessens with time.

For more coverage of the coronavirus in Grayson County, visit http://www.HeraldDemocrat.com.