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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. During normal business hours (8:00am - 4:30pm), urgent and non-urgent calls, please call 1-800-803-7847 or email ADH.CoronaVirus@arkansas.gov. After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response, please call 501-661-2136.



For more information about Arkansas' fight against this rapidly spreading disease, please visit the Arkansas Department of Health's Coronvirus Guidance Page.








Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses including the common cold as well as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. At the end of January, a new strand of this virus emerged in China resulting in a disease called coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.



Information about the virus is limited at present but it is being heavily monitored by public health groups, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).



These organizations have released recommendations for prevention and treatment of this illness. We, at Delta Memorial Hospital, would like to share this information with you so that you can protect yourself, your family, and your community.



Outbreaks of new viruses are always a concern for the public, as treatments for these new viruses are limited and vaccines often do not exist.



RISK FACTORS & CAUSES


The CDC believes that an individual's risk for infection of COVID-19 is dependent on exposure. For the general population, the risk is very low. Those most at risk for exposure are individuals who have had contact with others with confirmed positive cases of the virus.



It is unclear how this particular virus spreads, but it is believed to be from person to person in close contact and through respiratory droplets. It is currently unknown if the virus can be transferred through touching a surface previously touched by an infected individual.



SYMPTOMS


Signs and symptoms of the virus should appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. These symptoms can range from being mild to being severe and have been known to cause death. However, severe cases of this disease have been mostly noted in individuals of older age or with significant preexisting medical conditions.



At the current time, it is believed that these symptoms are more likely due to influenza but an abundance of caution should always be taken with any type of respiratory illness.



Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:

      • Fever

      • Cough

      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing



There is currently no vaccine available for COVID-19 and the best way to avoid infection is to prevent exposure to the virus.



PREVENTION


Per the CDC, the best ways to prevent exposure include:

      • Practice social distancing - avoid close contact with others and from attending gatherings, events or places of business with groups of 10 or more present.

      • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.

      • Stay home when you are sick.

      • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after

         blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

                ○ If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands

         with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.



When you show signs of any type of respiratory illness, it is also recommended that you wear a face mask - particularly if going out into public is unavoidable.



Follow the CDC's recommendations for using a face mask:

      • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases,

         including COVID-19.

      • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 (or other respiratory illness) to help prevent the spread of the

         disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings

         (at home or in a health care facility).



CDC recommends individuals and families follow everyday preventive measures:

      • Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms.

      • Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.

     • Hand Hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating;

         and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

                ○ If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.

      • Environmental Health Action: Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.



Routine use of these measures by individuals and their families will increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak.



WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR


If you have traveled to China or other international countries in recent weeks or believe that you have been exposed to the virus and begin having symptoms, contact your physician immediately.



Otherwise, please use an abundance of caution in the coming weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, influenza or any other respiratory illness.



At Delta Memorial Hospital as well as Delta Health Services, we ask that - if you are having respiratory symptoms of any kind - call our offices prior and speak with medical staff about your symptoms. Please retrieve a mask from check-in staff immediately upon arrival for an appointment at one of our facilities. Please keep your hands as clean as possible and feel free to utilize one of our many hand sanitizer dispensers that are hanging on walls around the hospital as well as the clinic. This will help to keep other patients as well as hospital and clinic staff safe from the spread of these diseases.







CONTENT SOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mayo Clinic

Arkansas Department of Health

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