Any word that contains “virus” seems to grab people’s attention today. Some remember past years of SARS, influenza and other viruses that plagued thousands of lives throughout America over the years.
Jim Cady, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Craig County, understands the Scout motto of “Always Be Prepared.”
“As we begin to hear more about the risk from this virus it has become time for Craig County to begin following the CDC guidelines to protect ourselves,” he shared with many EMS workers and others this week.
Cady recently met with County Infectious Disease Officer Darryl Humphreys and EMS Division Chief Mike Jones to set forward a plan to follow.
“Chief Humphreys has attended many classes over the past few years and has been certified as an ‘Infectious Control Officer’ and is Chief of the Career Rescue Squad,” Cady said. “Jones is Chief of all EMS in Craig County and works as an Emergency Room Pharmacist at Lewis-Gale Medical Center.”
He added, “They have begun following recommendations and best practice procedures as they are developed. They will communicate on recommendations for specific discipline.”
On March 1, Mitchel Wolfe, MD, MPH and Chief Medical Officer, CDC, gave a presentation on facts of the Coronavirus disease at a conference in D.C. which County Administrator Dan Collins believes could help citizens in Craig be more aware and have a better understanding of the “seemingly spreading” disease.
The Coronavirus (CoV) is a member of a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illness and was first isolated in the 1960s. It gets its name for the crown-like spikes on surface (some spread between animals and people). Here are some additional facts:
- There are seven Human Coronaviruses
- They cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold
- They may cause more severe disease like pneumonia or bronchitis (more common in infants, older adults, and people with underlying conditions or weaken immune systems)
- Symptoms may include: runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever or general unwell feeling, pneumonia, respiratory failure or multisystem organ failure
- Estimated incubation period is two to 14 days
- Lab test can be used to test respiratory specimens and serum (blood) for CoV infection in patients with more severe disease
- It is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets by coughing or sneezing, close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands or touching an object or surface that has the virus on it
Prevention is something that Cady and the CMO constantly stress, regardless of who or where the individual is.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as these are gates infection can easily enter
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home where you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it away
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Sadly, Wolfe stated that there have been 83,642 confirmed cases as of February 28 of which 94 percent are in mainland China.
“However, the rate of new cases in China are decreasing while the rate of new cases outside of mainland China are increasing,” Cady noted. “Approximately 4,690 confirmed cases and 67 deaths in 55 locations outside of mainland China. There has been documentation of human-to-human transmission amongst close contacts and health care workers.”
Also, locations with confirmed COVID-19 cases include: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, North, Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Republic of Korea, United Arab, Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
The CDC, which has staff in over 50 countries throughout the world as part of the ongoing global health mission, are supporting prepared efforts and have deployed experts to Indonesia, Laos, China, Japan and Republic of Korea.
The CDC is also collaborating with WHO to support Ministries of Health to prepare and respond to the virus.
Craig County residents should stay informed. It is wise not to assume the worst but prepare and seek medical attention immediately if an individual is experiencing any of the symptoms.
One can obtain the latest CoVID-19 information at www.cdc.gov/COVID19. Also, the CDC office is open Monday through Friday to call at (800) CDC-INFO.
For those who travel, there is an additional website with more information, wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
“Our plan is to move slow and deliberate as this develops,” Cady said. If anyone in Craig is experiencing similar symptoms, they should go to medical center for precautions, as catching this virus or any other virus in its beginning stages is much easier to fight.