Do NOT go to the ER unless you are severely sick or have trouble breathing; instead, call your Health Care Provider and inform them if:

  • You have recently traveled abroad along with the country you traveled to.
  • You have been around anyone that either had or may presently have the virus.
  • You live in a community with a known outbreak (Kirkland, WA or New Rochelle, NY for example).
  • You have a Fever above 99.0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You have experienced severe shortness of breath.

Take over-the-counter cough, cold, fever related medicine for common cold-associated symptoms

If you are sick and have a fever over 99 degrees Fahrenheit, the best practice is to self-quarantine until you have been evaluated by a health care provider through telehealth or an in-person visit.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling Americans that they should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their communities.

But what does preparedness look like in practice? The short answer: Don’t panic — but do prepare.

That “means not only contingency planning but also good old-fashioned preparedness planning for your family,” says Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University. In other words, what you would do in case of a possible hurricane or another natural disaster.

The reason to stock up on certain products now isn’t so much to avoid potential shortages in the event of an outbreak, but to practice what experts call social distancing. Basically, you want to avoid crowds to minimize your risk of catching the disease. If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, the last place you want to be is in line at a crowded grocery store or drugstore.

We spoke with Katz and other health experts about common-sense things you can do to be ready should the virus hit where you live.

Social Distancing

Medications

If you take daily medications — for example, blood pressure pills — make sure you have enough to last a couple of weeks, suggests Katz, as long as you can get approval for an extended supply from your insurance provider.

Products Worth Buying

Also worth pre-buying: fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, says Edith Bracho-Sanchez, a pediatrician with Columbia University Medical Center.

Think about adding enough nonperishable foods to your pantry to carry you through for a couple of weeks, adds Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician and a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security.

Illness Preparation

Bracho-Sanchez suggests having on hand your go-to sickbed foods, like chicken or vegetable broth and crackers in case of illness, as well as hydrating drinks such as Gatorade and Pedialyte for kids (though so far, kids seem less vulnerable to COVID-19). That’s because if you do get sick, you want to be ready to ride it out at home if need be. So far, 80% of COVID-19 cases have been mild. (Think cold or flu symptoms.) Hand washing is the Key for at least 20 seconds with preferable some sort of antibacterial soap.

Cleaning

Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, says what we know from other coronaviruses is that most household cleansers — such as bleach wipes or alcohol — will kill them.

Even wiping down surfaces with soap and water should do the trick, he says, because this coronavirus has a lipid envelope around it — like a coat that keeps the RNA inside the viral particle. And soap is a detergent that can break down lipids. “We use them to take grease and oil, which is a lipid, off our dishes,” he notes.

If COVID-19 does start circulating in your community or there’s someone sick at home, plan on cleaning surfaces that get touched frequently — such as kitchen counters and bathroom faucets — several times a day, says Dr. Trish Perl, chief of the infectious disease division at UT Southwestern Medical Center. That advice, she says, comes from studies on other diseases “where they’ve shown that if you do clean up the environment, you can actually decrease the amount of virus that is on hard surfaces significantly.”

What About Face Masks?

Generally, they are not protective unless you are the one sick, in which case you should wear one to protect you friends and family. Ordinary surgical masks are ineffective. N95 respirators are effective by filtering out 95% of airborne particles HOWEVER THEY NEED TO BE FITTED SPECIFICALLY TO EACH PERSON. Otherwise the N95 mask is not as effective.

According to the World Health Organization, the only people who should be wearing masks are healthy people who are taking care of someone who is sick, or sick people who are coughing or sneezing when they are in public. “If people are going out and buying face masks, that’s not necessary,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. “In fact, we need those masks for the people who should be using them, which are health-care workers taking care of patients.” This is to avoid incurring a shortage in N95 mask supply.

The most accurate conclusions on fatality rates from COVID-19 can be made from the existing data resulting from the original outbreak in China.

3/16/20 - Tri-State Area Shutsdown Restaurants, Bars, Gyms & more

Governor Cuomo & Murphy announce shutdown of restaurants, bars, gyms and casinos.

Starting at 8pm tonight all restaurants, bars, gyms and casinos within NY and NJ will close until further notice.  Restaurants and bars will be able to stay open only for take out and delivery services.  Additionally, NJ Governor Murphy has suggested that people try to abide by a 8pm – 5am curfew. Both Governor’s have banned gatherings of 50 or more people across the states.  Connecticut is also participating in these regulations.

3/13/20 NY Opens 1st Coronavirus Testing Drive Thru

A drive-thru coronavirus testing facility opened this morning  in New Rochelle to start testing people for COVID-19.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that testing at the site, which was being set up at Glen Island Park on the Long Island Sound Shore, will be done by appointment only.

New Rochelle residents — particularly those who have been quarantined — will be tested first, though all Westchester County residents will be eligible to make an appointment.

Special consideration will be given to people from vulnerable populations: the elderly, those with respiratory issues and those with compromised immune systems.

Appointments can be made by calling 888-364-3065.

3/12/20 - Declared States of Emergencies

The following states have declared “States of Emergencies” to deal with coronavirus and access federal funding;

  1. California
  2. Maryland
  3. Washington
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Kentucky
  6. Utah
  7. New York
  8. New Jersey
  9. Florida
  10. Oregon
  11. Indiana
  12. Colorado
  13. Iowa
  14. Illinois
  15. North Carolina
  16. Michigan
  17. Arizona
  18. Connecticut
  19. Louisiana

3/11/20 - President Trump Restricts European Travel

President Donald J. Trump is taking further action to curb the spread of the coronavirus to the United States from other countries.

  • President Trump is issuing a proclamation under section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to restrict travel to the United States from foreign nationals who have recently been in certain European countries.
    • Section 212(f) of the INA only applies to the movement of human beings, not goods or cargo.
  • The restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area, 26 countries in Europe with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days.
  • Those who are exempt from these restrictions, such as American citizens, will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening can take place.
  • There is extensive travel back and forth between Europe that heightens the risk here in the United States.

3/10/20 - Italy Enters Nationwide Lockdown

Italy Enters Nationwide Lockdown until April 3rd.

The lockdown includes restrictions on travel among regions of the country as well as mandatory school, university, event venue, and retail store closures.

Religious events such as funeral, weddings and other ceremonies involving gatherings are banned until April 3rd.

A curfew of 6pm has been imposed on most restaurants and bars.

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