Who can you trust for coronavirus information? - Cape Cod Healthcare

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Published on March 03, 2020

Who can you trust for coronavirus information?

CDC Expert

Note - COVID-19 information and testing guidelines are being updated reguarly. Review the latest details at www.capecodhealth.org/coronavirus

It seems no matter where you turn, there is news of the coronavirus worldwide health issue. Knowing how to stay calm and rational, while also vigilant about the new illness can be tricky.

“For Americans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the official source of up-to date information about coronavirus,” said Cape Cod Healthcare Director of Infection Prevention David Pombo, MD.

Locally, Cape Cod Healthcare clinical leadership team is receiving daily (sometimes twice-daily) updates from the CDC and will continue to follow the federal agency’s guidelines for managing this virus.

In addition, CCHC administrative officials are working closely with federal, state and local officials as it relates to potential spread of coronavirus (named “COVID-19”) on Cape Cod. Staff is taking the necessary precautions, identifying supply, equipment, facility and staffing needs, should there be an outbreak in our area.

“We are fully committed to keeping our patients, employees, and neighbors, and loved ones safe and healthy,” CCHC President and CEO Michael Lauf said in an email to staff last week.

“At this time, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to the virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States,” the CDC reported on its web site on March 2, 2020. The agency did caution that “this is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.”

As of March 2, 2020, this was the COVID-19 status in the U.S.:

  • Total cases – 86
  • Total hospitalized – 17
  • Total deaths – 2
  • States reporting cases – 10

Who Should Be Screened?

So, what should you do if you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms? The CDC has identified three groups of patients who should be screened. They are:

  • Patients who have had direct contact with a CONFIRMED COVID-19 patient within 14 days, and who have a fever or respiratory symptoms.
  • Patients who are sick enough to require hospitalization with fever AND acute lower respiratory illness AND history of travel to an affected area within the last 14 days.
  • Patients who are sick enough to require hospitalization with fever AND acute lower respiratory illness without an alternative explanatory diagnosis (such as flu). This tier does not require a history of travel to an affected area.

Testing for COVID-19 can now be done at both the state Department of Public Health level and the CDC level. Screening generally includes nasal and pharyngeal swabbing.

How Can I Stay Well?

The best way to prevent contracting COVID-19 – or any other communicable illness – is to practice good prevention hygiene, according to the CDC. It recommends:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

What About Facemasks?

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone who is ill in close settings, like homes or healthcare facilities.

For more information and CDC resources, visit our coronavirus resources page here.