What are the COVID-19 Symptoms?
Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Patients may experience fever; flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and fatigue; and shortness of breath. In severe cases, there can be more serious progression including respiratory distress and fatal organ failure.
How does the virus spread?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets can transfer to those who are nearby via contact with mouth, nose, or eyes. The virus also lives on surfaces and therefore, the disease can spread the disease through surface contact.
How can we protect ourselves from the illness?
As of now, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. The best way to prevent the virus is to avoid being exposed to it. This can be achieved the following ways:
- Wash your hands with soap and water (or use alcohol-based sanitizer) frequently.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Keep a safe distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.
- If possible, stay away from large gatherings and high-traffic public places.
- Talk to your manager about working remotely.
- If you begin to experience any symptoms, stay away from others and immediately reach out to a healthcare provider.
What should your organization do to prevent an outbreak?
As per CMS, healthcare facilities should review plans for emergency preparedness, including policies and practices to prevent the spread of infection:
- Follow the CDC’s Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, including the use of eye protection.
- Adhere to CDC recommendations on standard hand hygiene practices, including use of alcohol-based hand rub/hand sanitizer (ABHR/ABHS).
- Implement communal surface cleaning to help prevent the spread of germs.
- Review appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) use and availability.
- Keep in mind that the HIPAA Privacy Rule protections are not set aside during an emergency.
Is there a treatment for the illness?
There is no cure for COVID-19 at the moment, but symptoms can be treated. Recovery depends of the strength of the infected person’s immune system.
What is the current risk assessment?
According to the CDC, for most people, the immediate risk of exposure is low. However, that could change as the outbreak continues.
People in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or who live in communities with a high number of cases are at elevated risk of exposure. Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are also at greater risk. Travelers returning from international destinations where the virus has been identified are also at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on location.