Corona Virus, Prevention, and Compassion: Be safe. Be well. Be kind.

Family, friends, loved ones,

This may not be a time for physical contact, but emotional contact is so key, now more than ever. Make sure your friends and family know you are there (via phone, face-timing, etc.). Have conversations; talk about your worries, concerns, love for each other. At the end of the day, we are all in this together, and we can love and support each other (even if that means from at least a 6-foot distance).

We decided yesterday to move our agency remote. As part of that process, I drafted up some core information and links on protecting ourselves and our communities. I decided to edit and share this in hopes it may be helpful to you too.

Be safe. Be well. Be kind (we are all scared),

Julie

Corona Virus, Prevention, and Compassion

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading person-to-person via respiratory droplets. It has now been reported in Massachusetts (95 tested positive cases as of 3/11). On Tuesday, March 10th, Governor Baker declared a state of emergency. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (person-to-person within 6 feet), thus, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned of potential severe “community spread” (i.e. people have been/will be infected with virus and source may be unknown).

True prevalence rates are unknown due to lag in normal testing, tracking, and prevention measures and procedures. Like other corona viruses, there is no cure, but symptoms can be treated. If/when the outbreak happens in our own communities, it could last for a long time (CDC). Public health precautions can help spread the risk and impact of the disease, esp. to people in our community who are more vulnerable.

The CDC state that the length of illness can vary (case-by-case basis). In absence of prevalence data in this evolving pandemic, the current prevention practice has been to self-quarantine (i.e. separating a person or group of people who have been exposed, in order to prevent its spread). For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days. (CDC).

Time is of (critical) essence:

You have have heard that we need to “flatten the curve.” This refers to delaying the spread of the virus over time so people that need medical resources, have those resources, and we don’t crowd the hospitals to capacity and hurt our front care workers—Nurses/ doctors/ social workers— you are all damn angels, thank you!] Now, let’s keep them safe—we can do that by implementing individual precautions.

How Spread

COVID-19 is spreading person-to-person via respiratory droplets (such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes). People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (i.e. at their sickest); However, some spread may be possible before infected persons show symptoms. It may be additionally possible to be infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. Current evidence suggests that the virus may remain viable for hours or days on surfaces made from a variety of materials (CDC) [What is known on the spread: Link]

What can you do? [See Link for list of precautions: Link]

  • Keep 6-feet distance from persons (no handshakes etc.);
  • Wash you hands with hot soap and water for 20 seconds;
  • Cover your mouth with arm when cough or sneeze;
  • If available, sneeze on new tissue and immediately trash;
  • Disinfect surfaces; [CDC Disinfecting recs: Link]

Common Signs/ Symptoms:

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing [World Health Organization; See CDC Symptoms List: Link]

Persons at higher risk

  • Older adults (60<)
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Homeless populations.

*If you are  a person of higher risk, it is so important for you to reduce your risk of exposure [Yes, Dad, I’m talking to you—make your meals at home/ avoid restaurants and public spaces, and no hugs/ no handshakes!]

What to do if you are sick?

[Note: There are no antiviral treatments, but symptoms can be managed]

  • Contact healthcare provider immediately and before you physically head to a medical facility;
  • Wear a face mask;
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes;
  • Dispose of dirty tissues in trash;
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitizer if available

[See More info: CDC What to do if you are sick: Link; Care for yourself at home: Link; Stop the spread: Link; Watch for Symptoms/ Family and Caregiver Support: Link]

Family and Caregiver Support

If you are caring for a family member (in-person): Make sure you know what medications they’re taking (and have adequate supply); Stock up on non-perishable food items; Monitor food and medical supplies; Keep coordinated with other providers who are taking care of them so you can ensure their care is adequate through this process.

Additional Resources:

 

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