Now that President Trump has declared a national emergency because of the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, all Americans are focused on how to prevent getting infected and how to care for those who are infected.
The CDC says older adults and those people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are of higher risk.
For those people in a long-term care facility the virus, poses a genuine risk. The question for them, like the rest of us, is how you can prevent becoming infected in the first place.
Group Setting Pose Added Danger to Infection
In any group setting the virus can easily be transmitted from one person to another. Any virus, including the COVID-19, can spread very easily and quickly between patients, staff, and visitors. Plus, those with cognitive issues may not understand social distancing and basic hygiene, which helps prevent infection.
President Trump announced several steps to help protect those in long-term care facilities. These steps include restrictions on nursing home visitors. The goal is to protect the elderly and others with health issues who live in these facilities.
This is the “most aggressive and decisive recommendation with respect to nursing home safety in the face of the spread of COVID-19”.The Centers for Medicare& Medicaid Services (CMS)
The guidelines include the cancelation of all group activities, group dining, and imposing active screening of both the residents and the healthcare personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms.
The CDC has published new guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/prevent-spread-in-long-term-care-facilities.html
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said nursing home visitation restrictions include all visitors and non-essential personnel. There will be few exceptions, although she mentioned that hospice and end-of-life situations would be allowed on a limited basis. These rules mirror what many facilities have already put into place voluntarily in order to protect patients and staff. Most facilities have already started temperature screenings.
Compare Common Virus Symptoms
As we are entering allergy season, and many other viruses have similar symptoms, testing for the COVID-19 will be essential. This chart shows the various common symptoms:
Take Action if You or Family Member are High-Risk
According to the CDC, if you or a family member are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Virus Crisis Guidelines
Read the full CDC guidelines here:
Testing for the virus has become a high priority. Both the public and private sectors are working toward mass testing. Home care providers will be able to test an individual in their home. However, if you have symptoms, stay at home and avoid other people. Experts say to call your doctor first instead of just going to the doctor or hospital. Be sure to use social distancing and wash your hands all the time.