We understand that many are concerned about the novel coronavirus outbreak. We are closely monitoring updates and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support you.
Note that the following information is updated as of March 9, 2020. Recommendations are subject to change as additional information becomes available. For the most updated information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
What is the coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some of these, such as the common cold, cause respiratory illnesses in humans, while others only infect animals. Animal coronaviruses can lead to person-to-person spread as has been seen in the past with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The novel coronavirus, which has been linked to an animal market in Wuhan, China, causes a respiratory illness officially named COVID-19 (an abbreviation of “coronavirus disease 2019”). Person-to-person transmission has now led to over 110,000 cases across more than 100 countries.
How is coronavirus spread?
Similar to the flu, the virus is thought to spread through close contact with an infected person. An infected person can spread the virus through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. It is possible that people can get the virus by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. At this time, however, transmission via contaminated surfaces is not believed to be the primary route of transmission.
What preventive steps should I take?
Everyday proactive measures—the same way you might avoid flu or the common cold—are the best way to prevent illness and the spread of viruses:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
What do I do if I feel sick?
[FOR EDEN HEALTH CLIENTS: If you have a fever or cough, please contact your care team using the Eden Health mobile app. In order to minimize the risk of viral spread, we ask that all patients displaying symptoms contact their care team virtually before seeking in-person care.]
If you are feeling sick with a fever or cough and have concerns that you might have COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider, ideally by digital means [or via our virtual health care provider].
In addition to contacting your [Eden Health care team or healthcare provider]:
- Stay home from work and community events if you are sick with respiratory symptoms like fever or cough until you are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Notify your supervisor and stay home if you are sick.
- If you appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms upon arrival to work or become sick during the day, notify your supervisor and go home immediately.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available). Immediately throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
Should I be tested for coronavirus?
Criteria for testing for coronavirus has expanded to include a wider group of symptomatic patients (those with fever, cough, difficulty breathing). There is no indication for testing patients who do not have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of travel history.
As availability of diagnostic testing for COVID-19 increases, clinicians will be able to access laboratory tests through clinical laboratories performing tests authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Clinicians will also be able to access laboratory testing through public health laboratories in their jurisdictions.
[FOR EDEN HEALTH CLIENTS: Please reach out on the Eden Health mobile app so that we can answer any questions and direct you to the appropriate level of care.]
Should I wear a face mask?
Face masks should be used by people who show respiratory symptoms like fever or cough or by those caring for someone who is sick. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory disease including coronaviruses.
Should I avoid travel?
As the coronavirus spreads, the U .S. Department of State is maintaining updated travel advisories. As of March 9, 2020, the following advisories exist:
- The CDC recommends that travelers avoid nonessential travel to the following destination(s): China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea
- Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel to the following destination(s): Japan
- Travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, should defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.
What other medical precautions should I take?
Keep taking any current medications and adhere to therapeutic regimens. Make sure you have sufficient medication refills.