IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
What is COVID-19?
By now, you have most certainly heard about COVID-19. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a "new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the
coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans
and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis."
How does the virus spread?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City, China. The first infections were "linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. COVID-19 is spreading easily and sustainably in the community in some affected geographic areas." Therefore, someone who is actively sick with this virus can spread the illness to others. The CDC recommends that "these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others."
Signs & Symptoms
The CDC states that reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
- Shortness of breath
How to protect yourself and others
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone follows the steps below to protect yourself from COVID-19:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you ave been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
2) If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
3) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others:
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid non-essential travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
5) Avoid touching & be sure to clean:
- To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public areas, such as door knobs, elevator buttons, handrails, etc.
- Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home and your workplace.
6) Stock up on supplies:
- Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
- If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
- Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
7) If you become sick:
- STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow, throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
For further information about COVID-19, useful articles and local news about the virus, please check out the following links: