Coronavirus (COVID-19): What you should know
March, 17, 2020- in category blog
What is the Coronavirus/COVID-19?
The novel coronavirus is a newly discovered virus. It causes an illness called COVID-19. Many of the symptoms are similar to the flu: dry cough, fever, difficulty breathing.
How do people catch COVID-19?
When people who are infected sneeze, cough, or touch objects with their hands, they leave behind the coronavirus germs. Other people who breathe the air in the area of the infected person or touch objects they touched are then exposed.
How dangerous is COVID-19?
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 have a mild illness. Many of those infected don’t even know they have it. As with influenza, in some cases it can lead to serious illness such as pneumonia and even death. It appears that patients over 60 and those with chronic medical conditions are most likely to develop severe illness and complications. The illness has not affected very many children and most of those cases have been mild.
Is LACHC prepared?
Yes. We do treat patients with contagious illnesses. We have processes in place to lower the risk of illness for patients and staff. Our medical staff is keeping up to date on recommendations from local public health officials and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Should I keep my medical appointment?
At this time, patients face no additional risk in our clinics. Please keep your appointment unless directed otherwise. If you believe you might have or have been exposed to the COVID-19, please call to speak to one of our medical staff before deciding to come in. All of our clinics remain open to serve the community.
Should I wear a face-mask?
Patients who are sick with cold, cough, or other symptoms of illness should wear a face-mask so that their germs are not passed to other people. Outside of these circumstances, the CDC does not recommend use of a face-mask by members of the general public.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of the novel coronavirus are fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. If you have these symptoms and believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, then call your clinic. We will work with public health authorities to determine if you should be tested. If you have these symptoms and have NOT been exposed, chances are you have the flu or other common illness and should make an appointment to come in for care as usual.
Should I be tested for COVID-19?
LACHC follows the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommendations on testing. At this time only patients who have symptoms and who have a history of travel to specific high-risk regions or have been in contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recommended for testing. It is probable that these recommendations will change. We will be updating our recommendations to patients regarding testing as necessary.
What is LACHC doing to protect patients?
We are screening all patients for symptoms and risk factors. We are taking extra sanitation precautions at all our clinic sites. For patients being tested or confirmed with novel coronavirus, we follow processes designed to prevent transmission.
What can I do to protect myself and others?
Public health officials recommend the following steps to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including influenza and COVID-19.
- Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 20 seconds is one round of “The Alphabet Song” or two rounds of “Happy Birthday to You”.
- Cough into your elbow or a tissue and not your hands. Dispose of the tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home and do not travel or go to work.
- Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
- Practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings.