What’s the update on the coronavirus?
Note - COVID-19 information and testing guidelines are being updated reguarly. Review the latest details at www.capecodhealth.org/coronavirus
We asked David Pombo, MD, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Cape Cod Healthcare some important questions about coronavirus, now called COVID-19.
Q: What is COVID-19?
Dr. Pombo: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses we first heard about more than a decade ago with the SARS and MERS outbreaks. Novel Coronavirus is new, and we are learning more each day about how it spreads and how long it takes for people to become sick.
The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, which is called the “epicenter” of the disease.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. At that time, there were 12,167 suspected cases throughout China. Today, there are more than 92,000 worldwide.
Q: What do you want people on Cape Cod to know about the coronavirus?
Dr. Pombo: I want people throughout Massachusetts to know they are more likely to get the flu than the coronavirus. Flu vaccines and other precautions to avoid getting the flu are very important right now.
Precautions to avoid getting the flu include:
- Immunization against influenza,
- Frequent hand washing or hand hygiene with alcohol rubs, especially after contact with ill persons,
- Cough etiquette, including covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Q: What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?
Dr. Pombo: Coronavirus symptoms are cold-like, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
As with influenza and many other viruses, the coronavirus can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.
Q: How has Cape Cod Healthcare prepared for this?
Dr. Pombo: Cape Cod Healthcare has infection control measures in place at all times, not just when outbreaks such as the coronavirus occur. This is why patients who enter the hospital with a fever or cough are questioned regarding recent travel and ill contacts, instructed to wear masks and use hand hygiene, and are not allowed to wait among other patients in the common areas. These are some of the most visible reminders of our comprehensive infection control procedures.
Our infection control policies and procedures are applied throughout all of the facilities of Cape Cod Healthcare, including our urgent care centers, labs, rehabilitation centers, and physician practices.
As for the Coronavirus, we have updated employees and the medical staff as information has been made available by regular email postings to provide the latest updates from the Massachusetts Department of Health and the CDC.
For more information and CDC resources, visit our coronavirus resources page here.