The novel coronavirus (COVID-19)is a newly identified illness that is transmitted from human to human and from contact with infected surfaces or objects. You have likely heard about COVID-19 over the past few months. Coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a strain of coronavirus. It’s part of the same family of coronavirus diseases that includes the common cold.
What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus?
They can be similar to the flu or cold: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Symptoms can occur in as few as 2 days after exposure, or as long as 14+ days after exposure.
How does the virus spread?
Like many other viruses, COVID-19 seems to spread from person to person and from contact with infected surfaces or objects.
Who is at risk? Evidence related to China’s statistics shows that 80% of the cases are mild. The individuals at-risk are the aging population, those with underlying medical conditions, or individuals with compromised immune systems. At this time, the pediatric age group (0-19 years) and younger populations (20-30-year-olds) have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe symptoms are possible, they are uncommon.
Generally, our faculty and staff are at a higher risk simply due to age. While we do not want you to share with us your underlying medical condition or conditions, we do want you to be vigilant about staying healthy, and containing this virus. Individuals with diabetes, asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, obesity, or a compromised immune system, etc. are at a higher risk.
What does “social-distancing” mean? CDC is recommending that all people “social-distance” themselves from other people and households, providing at least six (6) feet in between you and others.
It is important to know how Public Health Stages work during a pandemic like COVID–19.
The first stage is containment and the goal of this stage is to keep the virus as contained as possible. So for example, quarantines, travel advisories, etc., are put in place in order to keep the virus from spreading too rapidly.
The second stage is mitigation and this means that the virus is in the area, people are infected, and now stronger measures are taken to, again, slow down the spread of the virus and illness. A goal of this stage, for example, is to keep as many people on staff up and running — to prevent all the workers from coming down with illness at the same time so that operations can continue. We are currently operating in the mitigation stage.
The third stage is management, and this means that the virus has spread to a community or region and there is no real way to slow its progress — now the task is to manage the illness and to treat people and help people recover and return to their work, studies, activities, etc.