Coronavirus (COVID-19): Stay Informed and Stay Healthy. LEARN MORE
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Staying Informed About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Last Updated May 22, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to be a serious public health issue. Quantum Health is closely monitoring the situation, with guidance from leading public health organizations, to ensure that we provide the most up-to-date information and guidelines for our clients, members and employees.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides current information on COVID-19, including understanding symptoms, how to stay healthy, and when to call or visit your healthcare provider. A list of the newest guidance can be found at the CDC’s What’s New page.

Overall guidance includes:

Know the symptoms

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Call your healthcare provider if:
You develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19; OR you have recently traveled from an area with wide spread of COVID-19. See here for information on community spread of COVID-19.

When to seek medical attention

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

Keep yourself and others healthy

To ensure you know how to protect yourself, the CDC offers guidance, including information on spread, steps to protect you and others, and other everyday precautions. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or having been in a public place
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places, such as elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something
  • Remove germs by frequently cleaning and disinfecting your home, especially those frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, desks, toilets, faucets and cell phones
  • Avoid shaking hands with other people
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. The risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick

Recommendation regarding the use of cloth face coverings

The CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. Recent studies indicate that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure (surgical masks or N-95 respirators are not recommended due to supply demands). Frequently asked questions about cloth face coverings are available for more information.

Understand if you are at higher risk

Early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This can include:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Other high-risk conditions could include:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised
    • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease
  • People who are pregnant should be monitored, since they are known to be at risk of severe viral illness. However, data on COVID-19 to date has not shown increased risk.

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune-weakening medications.

For older adults, or those who have severe chronic medical conditions, it’s very important to take steps to stay healthy with actions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact of the disease.

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk of COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can protect children from getting sick with these tips to keep them healthy.

Travel Recommendations

The CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential, and practice social distancing especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Don’t travel if you are sick or travel with someone who is sick.

Cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel because of the global impact of COVID-19. With the exposure and impact changing frequently in each country, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel. This includes avoiding plane trips, and especially embarking on cruise ships. For Travel Health Notice levels and travel guidance by country, the most current and comprehensive outline can be found here.

Testing for COVID-19 in the U.S.

Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: diagnostic tests and antibody blood tests.

  • Diagnostic tests check samples from the respiratory system (such as swabs of the inside of the nose) to tell if there is an infection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The map here includes states and territories with one or more laboratories that have successfully verified and are currently using COVID-19 diagnostic tests. As of the evening of April 26, the total number of public health laboratories (PHL) that have completed verification and are offering testing is 97. This includes one or more PHL in 50 states plus DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This list is provided by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)external icon. Contact your state health department regarding questions about testing.

  • Antibody blood tests, also called serologic tests, checks the blood for antibodies that would show if there has been a previous infection. A serologic test may not be able to show a current infection, because it can take 1 to 3 weeks to make antibodies after symptoms occur. Scientists are doing studies to answer those questions.

Those testing positive or negative for COVID-19, no matter the type of test, should still take preventive measures to protect themselves and others.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing helps to identify people who may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. This monitoring process provides identification and accurate contact information to inform status, health implications, and next steps in order to help individuals get treatment and further prevent the transmission of COVID-19. This CDC guidance for COVID-19 may be adapted by state and local health departments to respond to these rapidly changing local circumstances.

We can all do our part

We all need to do our part to understand, help slow the spread, and ultimately reduce the impact of COVID-19 for ourselves, our families and our communities. Families can plan and make decisions now for their households that will help to protect members of the family. Businesses can decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in the workplace by reducing transmission among employees, maintaining healthy business operations, and maintaining a healthy work environment.

For the latest information and guidance about COVID-19, please visit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Quantum Health is committed to monitoring this evolving situation, and we will keep our members, clients and employees updated on new developments.