Officials with Butler Health System announced Monday afternoon that the regional health care system admitted its first inpatient case of the coronavirus at Butler Memorial Hospital.
Butler County’s total cases of COVID-19 reached four people over the weekend. It was not clear from the information released by BHS if the individual admitted for treatment Monday was a new case or among the four reported over the weekend.
However, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health website, the number of cases in Butler County now stands at five.
“Based on the experiences of other communities, we know that more patients, inpatient and outpatient, will test positive,” Ken DeFurio, president and CEO of BHS, said in a statement issued by the health care system. “These patients will self-quarantine at home. However, there will continue to be some patients who require acute care and hospitalization.”
DeFurio assured the public the majority of cases will present mild symptoms and not require hospitalization. Jana Panther, BHS spokeswoman, added that not all Butler County residents tested for the virus have been tested through the regional health care system.
BHS deferred to the state DOH website, which updates the number of cases statewide, broken down by county, daily at noon.
DeFurio said the system will continue to serve the community and its patients.
“As we look forward, it is not necessary nor practical for organization-wide updates to be sent every time there is a positive case,” DeFurio said. “Otherwise, updates will be provided as necessary.”
As of Monday, the department is reporting 644 confirmed cases in the state.
The website also offers a county breakdown, where people can track Butler County’s number of confirmed cases.
The first case of COVID-19 in the county was confirmed Saturday by BHS.
That patient, who had been sick, was directed by his physician to be tested at BHS’s outdoor site earlier in the week. The patient, a Butler County resident, is recovering at home.
In a release issued Sunday, the regional health system reported that three more patients are Butler County residents. Each has been instructed by their individual physicians to quarantine at home, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines.
No other information about the patients was released by BHS.
John Love, medical director of infectious diseases for BHS, stressed in the release that hospitals and facilities throughout BHS are as prepared as possible and have taken appropriate infection control and prevention measures.
“Butler Health System has been prepared for COVID-19, and has implemented the proper protocols and infection control best practices,” Love said in a statement released by the regional health care system.
“Everybody needs to know the signs and symptoms. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus,” Love said. “Stay at home when you are sick. Call your doctor in advance of any visit. Limit your movement in the community, and limit visitors to your home.”
He added that one of the most important ways people can stem the spread of the virus is to wash hands often with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes, and not to touch their face.
“People need to follow the guidance that is being provided by our experts and the experts at the state and federal level,” urged DeFurio. “Everybody in the community needs to limit exposure and help to prevent transmission of the virus.”
DeFurio said the BHS specimen collection site has allowed health officials to identify patients quickly and avoid visits to doctors’ offices and the emergency department. He said the health care system is working hard to keep patients, staff, and the community safe and healthy, adding how the health care system is working around the clock to improve turnaround time for test results.
BHS also directs community members to its own website — butlerhealthsystem.org — for links to information and guidance from the CDC and PA Department of Health.
The website also offers a county breakdown, where people can track Butler County’s number of confirmed cases and death totals.
There have been no deaths attributed to the coronavirus at this time.
BC3 notifies students
Also on Monday, Butler County Community College alerted the campus community that a student there reported to college officials they tested positive for COVID-19. According to the letter sent to students, the individual was last on campus on March 9.
College officials notified students who attended classes with the individual, as well as the instructors who taught those classes. No other information was available about the student.