Middlesex County Office of Health Services COVID-19 Presentation (3-16-20)


Hello my name is John Dowd and I’m a
Division Head of Public Health Preparedness and Health Education for the Middlesex County Office of Health Services. Our office understands that
individuals have questions and concerns about coronavirus. I want to provide you
with information so that you can make informed decisions to protect yourself
and the community. The Middlesex County Office of Health Services is continuing
to keep residents and partners informed about new coronavirus, COVID-19. Some
people who live in or have recently traveled to places where people have
gotten sick with COVID-19 are being monitored by health officials to protect
their health and the health of other people in the community. We will continue
to communicate with the New Jersey Department of Health, our health care
system, and municipal officials in order to effectively respond to any cases of
illness within our community. What are coronaviruses? A coronavirus is a type of
common virus that can infect your respiratory tract. They can spread much
like colds and viruses. Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least
once in their lifetime, most likely as a young child. They tend to circulate in a
fall and winter. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus which began in China in
December 2019. The virus began in the animal population
and then started to cause infection in humans. A new virus is a concern since it
is hard to predict how the virus will behave in the human population. Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are closed contacts of someone
known to have the virus. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who
live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of the disease. Also healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of
exposure. Terms You May Hear Isolation Quarantine Incubation Period Active
Monitoring Passive Monitoring Presumptive Positive Community Spread Social
Distancing Close Contact and Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions The goal of isolation and quarantine is to stop or limit the spread of a
contagious disease. Isolation separates sick people with the contagious disease
from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the
movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become
sick. You will need to be quarantined for the incubation period of the disease. The incubation period refers to a time from when a person is exposed to a disease to the
time that they develop symptoms. COVID-19 incubation period is from 2 to 14 days. Active Monitoring means the state or local Public Health Authority assumes
responsibility for establishing regular communication with potentially exposed
people to assess for the presence of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. The mode of communication can be determined by the state or local public health
authority. It may include telephone calls, or any electronic or internet-based
means of communication. Passive Monitoring (or Self-Monitoring) means
people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice
a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. Anyone on self monitoring should be provided a plan for whom to
contact if they develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing during the
self-monitoring period to determine whether medical evaluation is needed. Presumptive Positive is a state case that comes back positive that is waiting
for confirmatory testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the state and local health authorities are proceeding with public
health investigations and response activities as if these were confirmed
cases. Close Contact is defined as being within approximately six feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; approximately 10 minutes or
longer. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting or
sharing a health care waiting area room with a COVID-19 case, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case. (For example – being coughed on.) Community Spread means people have
been infected with the virus in an area including some who are not sure how or
where they became infected. Social Distancing is a public health practice
that is meant to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together,
closing buildings and canceling events. Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions When a vaccine is unavailable NPI’s are the best way to help slow the spread of
viruses. They include personal, community and environmental actions. Personal actions include staying home when you are sick, covering your coughs and
sneezes with the tissue, and washing your hands often with soap and water. Community NPI’s are strategies organizations and community leaders can use to help limit face-to-face contact. These strategies may include making sick
leave policies more flexible in workplace settings, temporarily dismissing schools, avoiding close contact with others and cancelling large
public events. Environmental NPI’s are surface cleaning measures that remove germs from frequently touched surfaces and objects. Symptoms of COVID-19 can range
from mild to severe. The illness starts with flu-like symptoms. (Fever and cough) As the disease progresses and affects the lungs, you will have shortness of breath
or difficulty breathing. Please remember that is currently flu
and respiratory disease season, and you may have symptoms of the flu. Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone
known to have the virus. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who
live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of the disease. Also, health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure. People who are at higher risk of getting very sick from
this illness are older adults and people who have serious chronical medical
conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. If you are at higher
risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should ensure that you have supplies
in your home that meet your daily needs, take every day 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. lf there is community spread of COVID-19 in your community, stay home as much as possible
to reduce your risk of being exposed. COVID-19 is spread through the air by
coughs and sneezes, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Close contact with those who are sick. There are steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses like the flu. It is recommended that every day protective actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. Avoid close contact with people
who are sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, stay home and 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, at least
60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty, practice other good health habits, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious food, and manage your stress. If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow these steps: stay home except to get medical care. You should restrict activities outside your home except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas, avoid using public transportation,
ride-sharing or taxis. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home, call ahead before visiting your doctor. Depending on your risk exposure, your doctor could test you for COVID-19. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Avoid sharing personal household items. Clean your hands often and clean all hi-touch surfaces every day. Monitor your symptoms, and seek prompt medical attention if
your illness is getting worse or if you are having trouble breathing. There is no specific treatment for
coronavirus other than supportive care as needed. People that have mild illness
can manage symptoms with decongestants, cough suppressants, and fever reducing
medication. People with severe illness can be provided supportive care at a
hospital to provide oxygen, fluids and respiratory support. Any person or group planning a trip should consult the CDC website for current travel advisories
regarding any restrictions on travel. The situation is evolving. Stay up-to-date
with CDC’s travel help notices related to this situation. Individuals and
families can prepare for emergencies by making a kit, having a plan, and staying informed. To learn more about preparedness planning, visit www.ready.gov When preparing for such an emergency such as COVID-19 or the flu, your emergency kits should have the following items: store a two week’s supply of water and food, check your regular prescription medication to ensure a continuous supply in your home, have any non-prescription drugs and
other health supplies on hand including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins. Store household supplies
such as toilet paper, tissues, hand soap, paper towels, garbage bags and cleaning
supplies. Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records. Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick or what will be needed to care for them in your home. If you have pets – have pet food and supplies. If you have infants, have baby care items. Talk to your work about their emergency plan and talk to your school about their
emergency plan. Additional information on community planning for households, educational settings, workplace settings community events and faith-based
organizations can be obtained by visiting the CDC’s “Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities” website. If anyone has questions about COVID-19, you can
call the 24-hour public hotline at 800-222-1222. If you are using an out-of-state phone, the number to call is 1-800-962-1253. Trained healthcare professionals at the New Jersey Poison Control Center are standing by to answer questions about Coronavirus. The call is free. If individuals are feeling stressed or overwhelmed about COVID-19, they can call the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ toll free “warm line” at 877-294-HELP (4357). The warm line is activated during events that impact the mental health of New Jersey residents. The “warm line” does not replace 911, and is not used to report emergencies. For additional information from the CDC or the New Jersey Department of Health, please visit their web and social media sites. For Middlesex County information please visit our web and social media sites. You can find local information by visiting municipal web and social media sites, and subscribing to local emergency alert systems. I would like to thank you on behalf of
the Middlesex County Department of Public Safety and Health for viewing
this presentation. By staying informed and taking simple steps we can minimize our exposure to COVID-19 to protect our communities.

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