What do we know?
Cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV), are now in the United States. Despite this, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general American public is considered low at this time. This virus is expected to spread – the CDC is still learning about how it is spread, and how long the virus can live on inanimate objects – such as tables, arms of chairs, hand railings, door knobs, etc.
While COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, it has a low mortality rate,” the state Department of Public Health said in a statement Wednesday. “From the international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80% do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization. There have been no confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States to date.
Steps Senior Communities can take to keep their residents safe:
It’s still cold and flu season, and the CDC recommends the same practices that stop the spread of these common viral illnesses:
- Infection control principles – handwashing – this is a good time to do an in-service with all staff on hand washing. Wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Don’t come to work if you’re ill.
- Don’t permit visitors if they have symptoms of an illness
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Frequently clean and disinfect hard surfaces, such as chair arms, hand rails, table tops, throughout your Community –
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. There is no need at this time for all staff to routinely wear face masks.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings.
It is important to link into your local health department – be aware of the risks in your local area.
Stay calm and informed
There has been a lot of misinformation about the coronavirus. It is essential that leadership at Senior Living Communities stay informed and calm and not spread misinformation – fear, paranoia and misinformation are the epidemic’s indirect symptoms – that can be harder to control than the actual virus.
As of Wed. there have been about 59 confirmed cases in the U.S. (most came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship) and no deaths.
At the same time, we’ve had probably 26 million cases of influenza worldwide, with about 14,000 deaths in the U.S. alone – and a lot of people chose not to get their flu vaccine!
Listen to what your staff is saying and don’t let incorrect information get a hold in your Community.
The CDC updates their information frequently. Some useful sites are: