Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health and Safety in Home Healthcare

Feb 27, 2020

On February 25th, the CDC made a statement about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to Americans. They warned that the coronavirus may not be able to be contained at the border and that Americans should prepare for a “significant disruption.” The CDC recommended people channel their concerns about coronavirus into preparations.

Working in healthcare, particularly with a vulnerable population of older adults, the EasyLiving team takes this concern seriously. Our number one priority is the safety of our clients and team members. As always, we practice infection control methods and train our caregivers on these. Such measures are the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other viruses. This has already been a major emphasis during the challenging flu season we’ve faced this year. 

All EasyLiving staff received the following information: Coronavirus FAQs and Coronavirus Screening Information. And, we implemented a patient/employee questionnaire effective February 27th. EasyLiving is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and will continue to update our staff, clients, and families.

The Current Coronavirus Situation in the U.S. and Worldwide

As of this writing, community spread has not been a problem in the United States. Forty-three people repatriated from Wuhan and from the infected cruise ship tested positive for novel coronavirus. Additionally, fifteen cases have been detected in the health system. Among those 57 cases, only two involved human transmission in the US. And, those were between members of the same household.

The epidemic has been slowing recently in China, likely thanks to aggressive containment and response efforts. “The implications are that you can actually affect the course of this disease, but it takes a very aggressive and tough program,” epidemiologist Bruce Aylward said at a World Health Organization (WHO) news briefing.

The outbreak of the coronavirus has continued to spread beyond China. According to the latest data from the WHO, there are at least 2,000 confirmed cases in 33 other countries.

Coronavirus Preparations and Community Response

CDC officials said that Americans should continue to practice protective measures such as hand-washing, staying home from work when sick, etc. Meanwhile, they’re recommending local officials should make sure systems are in place should we need to reduce face-to-face interactions.These may include working at home, online schooling and telehealth.

Health Secretary Alex Azar told reporters at a Tuesday afternoon press conference that the United States would be undertaking “the most aggressive containment efforts in modern history”

“We are going to continue taking those measures but we are realistic that we will see more cases and as we see more cases we might have to take community mitigation efforts,” he said.

Though there have been no reported cases as of this writing in Florida, we and other healthcare providers are preparing and taking preventative steps. Healthcare facilities and providers have implemented stronger infection control and identification procedures. They are developing new standard operating procedures with more possible adjustments as the situation changes.

Coronavirus Symptoms, Treatment and Fatality Rates

WHO experts report a 2% to 4% fatality rate in Wuhan and a 0.7% fatality rate outside the city. For mild cases of the coronavirus, there’s a roughly two-week recovery rate. However, for more severe cases, the recovery rate is between three and six weeks. People with previous health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus. Currently, there is no special treatment for the coronavirus. Therefore, medical professionals treat symptoms and manage the effects on the body.

COVID-19 causes symptoms like a cold or pneumonia. They can range from a mild cough to the more severe including fever and difficulty breathing. There is no vaccine yet for the virus. Anyone who has concerns about symptoms should seek medical advice and practice self-containment measures. Experts believe symptoms may show in as few as two days and as long as 14 days after exposure. Above all, prompt detection and effective triage and isolation of potentially infectious persons are essential to prevent unnecessary exposure. 

Here is more information about prevention and treatment: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html.

Coronavirus Resources

CDC coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Information for healthcare professionals

World Health Organization COVID-19 information

Topics: Senior Health, News & Local Resources

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