What is the coronavirus & COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. Some coronaviruses commonly circulate in the United States and usually cause upper respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose, although some can cause more serious illness. The 2019 novel (new) coronavirus causes the illness coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This spread began in China in late 2019, hence the name COVID-19.

What exactly is flattening the curve and how can I help?

The terms “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” were terms very few of us had ever heard in early 2020, much less used. If you have been tuned in to the news and media recently, they have become the new buzz words. When it comes to healthcare, what do these words mean?

Flattening the Curve

What do I do if I suspect that I have been exposed to COVID-19?

If you suspect  that you or a loved one has been exposed to coronavirus and you are showing correlating symptoms of COVID-19, please take these measures:

Unless you are experiencing a health emergency and need immediate health intervention, do not go to an emergency room.  The hospital is here to treat patients who need emergent care so, please, if you are able, call your primary care physician’s office to discuss your symptoms and your possible exposure. Your healthcare provider will work with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.  It has been stressed to CALL the healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and set up testing should they determine testing is necessary. This is to limit the exposure to others should you indeed test positive for COVID-19. There is an approximate 48-72 hours turnaround time on this test, therefore it is very important for the individual to self-quarantine until test results are returned. Be prepared to treat the common symptoms of COVID-19 at home which includes fever, cough, and respiratory congestion.

It is important to emphasize that if you are experiencing shortness of breath or respiratory distress please report to your nearest Emergency room or call 911. Be sure to make all those who come into contact with you of your suspected condition so they can take precautions to not contract the possible COVID-19.

What are the symptoms?

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*

  • Fever >100
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Loss of Sense of Smell

*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses, according to the cdc.gov website. Additional symptoms that may be present with the abovementioned include sore throat, body aches, headache, nausea, and diarrhea. 

For more information from the CDC info on Symptoms, Testing, and a Self-Checker Questionnaire, click here Symptoms & Testing

 

Tips to Keep Children Healthy while School is Out

The CDC has created a very informative webpage that includes information on how to protect children from getting sick, symptoms children may have and more. Click the link below to find out more.

CDC’s Tips on Keeping Kids Healthy

What to do if you are sick.

If you suspect you have been exposed or if someone in your home suspects they have been exposed and are told to self-isolate, please read these very important guidelines below from the CDC.

Info If You Are Sick

What if someone in your home is told to self-isolate or suspects they may be sick?

Guidance to Prevent the Spread in Your Home

Helping your employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19

We need your help. Due to the volume our hospital is currently experiencing, we are asking employers to please follow these guidelines if you suspect that an employee or multiple employees have been exposed to COVID-19. Patients without active symptoms, who do not require emergent care, are asked to avoid coming to the Emergency Room to be tested for COVID-19. Please see the printable information sheet below for tips on how to best assist employees at this time.

Helping Your Employee Who May Have Been Exposed ONE SHEETER

FAQ

How do I protect myself from contracting COVID-19? Washing your hands often with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is the best way to protect yourself. Practice social distancing measures. Do not go to public places without taking full precaution to disinfect surfaces or your hands after you have touched public surfaces. Remaining at home as much as possible and avoiding these public places will be very helpful in protecting yourself and slowing the spread of the virus.

More information from the CDC on how to protect yourself can be found here How to Protect Yourself

How long does the virus survive on surfaces? It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including the COVID-19 virus) may survive on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.

Who is at risk of developing severe illness? While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

How do I need to prepare for an outbreak in our immediate area? Should there be an outbreak in our region, individuals need to be prepared to self-quarantine at home. Having common cleaning supplies on hand to ensure your home is clean (bleach, antibacterial surface cleaners) will be helpful. Also, having needed supplies for your household such as daily medication and food will ensure you don’t need to visit public places should there be an outbreak locally. Should an individual have symptoms of COVID-19 and be self-quarantined, it will also be important to have over the counter medications to treat the common symptoms of fever & cough. It is also very important to stay hydrated, so having sports drinks or drinks with electrolytes may prove helpful should you fall ill.

How do I know if I am getting true and reliable information?  This is very important as we have seen multiple reports, locally, of incorrect information. Keep an eye on the CRMC Facebook page for updates from the hospital. Obtaining your information from an accurate source will ensure you have correct and up-to-date information. These websites are the best sources for accurate information:  https://dph.georgia.gov/   and  https://www.cdc.gov/

 

Additional resources:

The Daily Status Report by the Georgia Department of Public Health

Updated Daily at 12 Noon & 7 pm- GDPH Status Report

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America — 15 Days to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Presidents Coronavirus Guideline for America

Click below for tips on washing your hands.

CoronaVirus_Handwashing_Final_3.3

Georgia Department of Health General Information & steps you should take if you suspect COVID-19

https://dph.georgia.gov/document/document/covid-19-general-information-factsheet/download

What to do if you are sick with COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

What if someone in your home is sick? Read these CDC guidelines.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions

Ten ways to care for yourself at home if you have respiratory symptoms related to COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/10Things.pdf

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Global Cases Map

Guidance for Employers from the Georgia Department of Public Health

https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-businesses-and-employers

Print Resources from the Centers for Disease Prevention & Control

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html