Dear Community Member,
Concerning COVID -19 outbreak
1) Over the past few days, there have been multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19, all of these people have had extensive interaction at multiple places, with members of the community. Thus, a large segment of the community has already been exposed.
2) We have witnessed a sudden spike in young adults with flu-like illness over the past 48 hours. However, the Department of Health has advised us that ANYONE with a flulike illness should be presumed to have COVID-19, and further culturing is to stop at this time. Culture exposes all health care workers to unnecessary risk and threatens to disable the health care system in place, without adding any benefit.
3) Nobody has antibodies to this virus, and thus according to current modeling the vast majority of people who have been exposed will come down with the illness.
Facts about COVID-19
· It is a highly infectious illness, spread by droplets and personal contact. Coughing, sneezing, etc. put the virus into an aerosolized form and can infect another person within 6 ft of the cough. The virus also survives to spread on hands and other surfaces. At this time, we do not believe that the virus spreads in the general airspace within the room
· The incubation period of the virus is from 3-14 days, with an average of 5 days. This means that once exposed, an individual will more than likely become ill 5 days later.
· It is possible that a person may be infectious just prior to becoming ill, that is before the onset of symptoms.
· This illness is different from influenza in that most people begin with mild symptoms which slowly progress over a period of days.
· The symptoms of this illness, which don't have to all be present are. Fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, diarrhea. (flu-like symptoms).
· The vast majority of patients (almost all, and most particularly children) will recover over a period of 5-7 days. 24 hours after full recovery they are presumed to be no longer infectious.
· There is a segment of the population, particularly those with chronic underlying illness, are immunosuppressed, have pulmonary disease, and the elderly and infirm, who are at higher risk of developing severe illness, requiring hospitalization.
· If an infected individual does NOT start to recover around day 5-7, and specifically if they become more ill, or develop respiratory symptoms they are at increased risk of severe disease and need to be evaluated, preferably in an emergency room where an Xray can be performed, lung function assessed, and the patient admitted if necessary, for advanced care. Of course, any individual who is severely ill from the outset, with more than a flu-like illness, would require evaluation.
· There is no treatment widely available for COVID-19, certain antiviral drugs are being tested at this time and used in some experimental settings.
· Anyone who feels at all ill, should stay home, and not mingle at all.
· As there has been such a wide exposure at this time, everyone is possibly infectious, and social distancing should be practiced.
· If you or your children become ill, consider it as if you are infected, and stay home. The only reason to seek medical attention is if there is a strong reason to believe that what you are ill with is something else (i.e. you have severe abdominal pain etc.), or your mild flu-like illness gets worse and not better after a number of days.
· The elderly and infirm are at high risk, practice strict social distancing from this group.
DO NOT FORGET SIMPLE HYGIENE, WASH HANDS, DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE, COUGH INTO YOUR ELBOW, OR TISSUE. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. SLEEP, EAT WELL, LIMIT ALCOHOL, GET SOME MILD EXERCISE TO KEEP YOURSELVES AS RESILIENT AS POSSIBLE
THERE IS NO NEED FOR PANIC!
THE VAST MAJORITY, AND WITH THE HELP OF HASHEM, EVERYONE WILL GET OVER THIS WITH NO PROBLEM.