Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

Coronavirus: How Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is fighting Covid-19

The hospital has erected a tent outside its emergency department to screen people with symptoms

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has erected a tent outside its emergency department to screen symptoms. Courtesy Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has erected a tent outside its emergency department to screen symptoms. Courtesy Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Related: Exclusive tour of the Abu Dhabi virus lab helping to tackle the pandemic

One of the biggest hospitals in the capital, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, is on the front line in the UAE’s fight against Covid-19.

And it has drawn up a battle plan to help the country contain it.

The hospital erected a tent outside its emergency department to screen anyone arriving with symptoms.

Thermal scanners have also been installed at all entrances to identify anyone with a high temperature – one of the hallmarks of the virus.

Inside, the hospital has reconfigured rooms in the emergency department to isolate suspected patients. An area has also been set aside to treat sufferers to ensure they do not come into contact with others.

The hospital, managed by Mubadala Healthcare, is encouraging patients to postpone non-essential procedures, and is delivering repeat prescriptions to save people leaving their homes.

All this has been overseen by the hospital’s coronavirus task force, which meets daily.

“We follow all recommended precautions, including the use of personal protective equipment and special rooms in the hospital and the Emergency Department itself to isolate and contain [patients and suspected patients]," said Dr Jacques Kobersy, chairman of the hospital’s Emergency Medicine Institute.

"We have rapidly reconfigured sections of the emergency department to do this most effectively.”

In addition to fighting the virus, hospital staff are working to dispel myths surrounding the disease. Paediatric infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic in the US, Frank Esper, said a lot of advice circulating on social media about Covid-19 is wrong.

“People are thinking hot air kills this virus and are using blow dryers or somehow increasing the room temperature to help prevent the spread, but that will not happen,” Dr Esper said. It has also been said people living in hot and humid climates are less susceptible. That is not true, he said.

“Evidence to date actually shows that Covid-19 can be transmitted in all areas. Climate is not a factor."

There is no evidence that mosquitoes can spread coronavirus, either.

“This is a respiratory virus and honestly we’re doing just fine passing it among ourselves. We don’t need mosquitoes’ help," he said.

“Mosquitoes can transmit disease only by sucking your blood and transferring that blood into someone else."

That makes them efficient at transmitting viruses like West Nile and malaria, but not coronaviruses.

He said the hospital has not seen any evidence suggesting ibuprofen can exacerbate a coronavirus infection, as was suggested by a report from the French Ministry of Health.

And he stresses younger people are not immune to the more serious complications of Covid-19.

“Younger adults can get infected and can get severe infection – although not nearly as often as in older adults," Dr Esper said. "We are really recognising that young adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s should still be very vigilant to make sure that they don’t get this virus.”

"What’s not a myth? The best way to prevent Covid-19 infection is by frequently washing your hands, using hand sanitiser and practising social distancing.”

Updated: March 27, 2020 09:20 AM

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