ST. JOSEPH — Spectrum Health has posted downloadable materials, travel tips, videos and other information on its website Wednesday in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus.

Community members, churches, schools, businesses and others are encouraged to visit www.spectrum, to access specific recommendations on curbing any spread of the new strain of coronavirus. The move comes after the World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the spread of Covid-19 a pandemic.

“The disease is now present in Michigan. We want to help ease fears and provide our community with the information people need to prevent this illness from spreading,” said Darryl Elmouchi, president of Spectrum Health Medical Group, in a news release.

The online materials include information on COVID-19 symptoms, prevention tips from state and federal agencies, a hand-washing video, articles featuring Spectrum Health infectious disease experts, and links to action plans and other important information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The health and safety of our patients and visitors is always our No. 1 priority, even more so when public health situations like this arise,” said Lowell Hamel, chief operating officer at Spectrum Health Lakeland, in the release. “Our team members and medical staff are well-informed and have been trained on safe practices to prevent the spread of infection. Additional disease prevention measures are being instituted based on collaboration with the CDC, the Berrien County Health Department, and our own infections disease experts.”

In Southwest Michigan, Spectrum Health Lakeland has implemented healthy visitor restrictions, which encourage community members to stay home when they are sick and wait until they are healthy to visit.

The organization is encouraging community members and employees to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene, including covering their cough, cleaning frequently touched surfaces often with a sanitizing wipe or cleanser and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

People are also recommended to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and should stay home from work, school or social gatherings when they are sick.

If people experience symptoms of the coronavirus such as fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, officials recommend they call their health care provider and advise them if you have been in close contact with a person known to have the new strain of coronavirus, or whether you recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the coronavirus.

In addition, Spectrum Health is offering free virtual COVID-19 screenings to those who have symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus.

The purpose is to prevent the spread of illness by enabling people to seek the information they need from their homes, while making it easy and convenient.

People in Michigan who are experiencing symptoms can call the health system’s hotline at 616-391-2380 to be scheduled for a free virtual screening. Anyone with severe or life-threatening symptoms should call 911 and seek instructions.