As I am sure you are aware, the Coronavirus, and the disease it causes, known as COVID-19, is now spreading in our state and neighboring counties. Center Health Care remains open and, as of today, 3/11/20, it does not have any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Nevertheless, we want to reassure you that we doing everything possible to keep our patients and employees safe.
Coronavirus is a new version of common group of viruses that cause respiratory illness, including forms of the common cold. It is believed that most cases likely are spread person-to-person by droplets when coughing. However, because this virus is very new, health authorities continue to assess how it spreads.
Coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms such as cough, fever, trouble breathing, and/or pneumonia. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Those at the highest risk for complications and serious illness from COVID-19 include the very young, the elderly, and those with heart disease, diabetes, and/or impaired respiratory function or immunity.
Unfortunately, as a new virus, there is no general immunity in the community. There also currently is no available vaccine or anti-viral medication, although aggressive research by the CDC and other health agencies is ongoing. The main treatment includes taking supportive measures, such as maintaining adequate hydration and nutrition, and providing respiratory support when needed. Taking these steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:
Wearing facemasks as a routine measure is not recommended for non-ill persons because it has been shown that facemask wearers touch their face more often than persons who are not wearing a mask and, thus, may actually increase risk of contracting the virus. Facemasks should be reserved for persons providing care for an ill or contagious person, or for ill persons who are out of the house receiving care.
Please keep in mind that influenza is still a prominent, widespread and serious infection in our community, and vaccination is still recommended if it has not already been completed.
Our primary goal is to prevent illness in our patients, the people who provide them care, and our staff. In light of this goal, and at the recommendations of other health care agencies, we are putting the following protocols in place:
We are carefully monitoring the situation and following all guidance from local, state, and federal health agencies. State officials continue to emphasize that the general risk to the public is low and, while we all need to be vigilant and cautious, it is also important to stay calm and not contribute to any undue panic. We will continue to keep you informed as the situation evolves.
Maria Kansas Devine, MD
Chief Medical Officer