COVID-19 Facts and Resources

April 6, 2020

 

As news of the Coronavirus and COVID-19, populates all of the media channels that we come into contact with day to day, misinformation and myths can propagate and cause undue stress and panic throughout our community.

The MCA Foundation works hard to be a champion and facilitator of an improved, robust, and forward-looking healthcare industry for our region. Within this scope of work, we place value in the MCA and its campus being a medical hub for the community to use as a resource for education, healthcare, and research. For those people who might have concerns over the spread of the virus and how it will impact your day to day living and our community as a whole, we have gathered some reliable information from government and health industry sources for people to read and inform themselves on the next steps to take in this trying time, what to look out for, and what to expect in the near future.

What is Coronavirus? What is COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is the infectious lower-respiratory disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus.

What are the Symptoms for COVID-19?

Most Common Symptoms:

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Dry Cough

Emergency Warning Signs:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Other Symptom Information:

According to WHO, some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

WHO reports people can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease spreads through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. If droplets land on surfaces, people can catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

Can COVID-19 Be Caught From an Asymptomatic Person (No Symptoms)?

The World Health Organization says the risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, especially at the early stages of the disease. It is, therefore, possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.

Is There A Treatment?

According to the CDC and WHO, there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

How To Protect Against the Virus?

The CDC and the WHO recommend the following steps in protecting you and your loved ones from contracting the virus and in preventing the spread of the disease

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Maintain social distancing: maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing
  • Avoid physical contact when greeting: a handshake can pass on a respiratory virus. Try nodding, waving, or elbow bumping instead.
  • Follow good respiratory hygiene: this means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Avoid sharing personal items socially or in your household
  •  Clean all “high-touch” surfaces in your household often
  •  Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider

What To Do If You Suspect COVID-19 or If You Are Sick?

The CDC advises calling your doctor, if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

Also, taking these steps if you are sick can help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

  • Stay home: You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
  • Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick
  •  Cover your coughs and sneezes
  •  Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  •  Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
  • Monitor your symptoms: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
  • Stay at home until instructed to leave: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider: The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

Who Is At A Higher Risk?

The CDC warns that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

Other Information

The CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S. 

For more information about the coronavirus and COVID-19, the impact on travel, and what the federal government is doing about it, you can visit the links below. All of the information above was compiled from the sources at the links below.

COVID-19 Info From WHO
 
COVID-19 Info From the CDC
 

What is the COVID-19 Impact On Our Community?

El Paso city leaders announced a second presumptive positive case of coronavirus in the El Paso area Sunday, March 15th. According to city officials, there are no cases on Fort Bliss at this time. Authorities say that preliminary information about the coronavirus shows that about 80% of the cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization.

Although it can be easy to panic and stress about the virus showing up in our community and fear getting infected, at a press conference held Sunday, March 15th, Mayor Dee Margo stated there is no need for El Pasoans to stockpile large amounts of canned food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and other items. Taking the precautions and actions outlined above to avoid contracting the virus or seeking medical attention if already infected are best practices for dealing with this pandemic.

UPDATE APRIL 5, 2020:

Total number of positive coronavirus cases now total 115. According to city officials, 63 women and 52 men are among the 115 cases. Of those cases, 27 people are hospitalized and 10 of those are currently in intensive care units.

El Paso is currently under a “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, which has shut down city parks and restricted which business can be open.

Read the "Stay Home, Work Safe" Order

Updated Case Count In El Paso

El paso Testing Information

More Local Information

Education Task Force

A local El Paso education task force will be reaching out to residents to reduce the anxiety that some residents might have over the coronavirus and COVID-19. More than a half dozen teams consisting of two educators will visit local shopping centers, malls, and public transit hubs to answer questions and provide printed literature to help reduce the stress and anxiety many El Pasoans may be experiencing.

Stay Up To Date: Call 211 with coronavirus questions

Stay up-to-date with the latest information by following the City and DPH on Facebook and Twitter and by visiting www.EPHealth.com  or www.EPSalud.com for updates. Additionally, residents with questions regarding coronavirus may call 211, option 6.

From all of us here at the MCA Foundation, make sure to stay safe and stay informed! Be mindful of your safety and health and that of your community and the people you come into contact with every day. Make sure to follow the best practices outlined above to prevent getting sick or spreading the virus even further and we hope everyone stays healthy!

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Health Affairs Blog: There Are Not Nearly Enough Nurses

Health Affairs Blog: Custodial Staff Protect Us From The Novel Coronavirus 

Health Affairs: Practice And Policy Considerations For Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

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