As a responsible healthcare provider, it is crucial to keep our customers and staff up to date with the most relevant information regarding the Corona Virus. Here is what we know and do not know as of this information release.

1. The novel coronavirus, now called SARS-CoV-2, causes the disease COVID-19. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, on Dec. 31, 2019.

2. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the current outbreak officially as a Global Pandemic. This designation has to do with geographical spread around the world. The change in classification does not change anything to do with the illness itself.

3. Limiting your risk to exposure is a very reasonable action to take at this time. Lowering the risk of exposure should remain a top priority for those who have comorbidities such as elderly, infants, co-morbid conditions, and those patients undergoing treatments known to decrease your immune system. If you are not sure if you or a loved one are at high risk, you must consult your physician or care provider familiar with your health history.

4. We factually know that basic hygiene is key to infection prevention and control. Please wash hands using approved hand soap, use hand sanitizer before and after any high-risk contact such as in healthcare settings, grocery markets, or areas where multiple people gather. Masks may help reduce the projection of droplets, however small particulate N-95s are used in healthcare settings. Cover your cough and avoid those who are known to be ill. Droplets spread the illness from person to person.

5. Yes, remaining in quarantine If you are diagnosed is essential to mitigate the spread of the virus. Any individual who has been tested positive or determines themselves to be self-quarantined must be in contact with their local or state health department for tracking purposes.

6. All healthcare facilities can send samples for testing confirmation. It is essential to contact your local or state health department for specific directions if you consider yourself “high risk” and are currently symptomatic.

7. The symptoms are currently very similar to having influenza and shortness of breath, although COVID-19 is an entirely different illness.

8. We currently do not know how long the virus can live outside of a host, such as on surfaces. Current testing does suggest it may live for days; therefore, it is essential to use approved disinfectant sprays and wipes. You must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for applications (i.e., drying times, coverage, etc.).

9. As of this release, there is no treatment or cure for COVID-19. The treatment is purely supportive. The success rate for recovery is very high. It is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure your immune system can defend against or respond to any infection.

10. As testing becomes more prevalent, so will the cases of COVID-19. It is possible that many instances throughout the United States were not tested, and as a result, patients may have been treated for flu-like illnesses. Again, it is essential to note that the treatment plan remains the same and is primarily supportive. Early testing for treatment options such as those given for influenza has mixed results.

11. Always seek responsible news sources. Social media is a place for public opinion and not accurate news in some cases. While many news agencies capitalize on wanting to be popular, healthcare providers must use reliable, verified information—the CDC and WHO would be considered safe sources of information. Please keep in mind the mission and scope of these two agencies. The infection prevention officer of The Colony ER Hospital monitors the CDC and communicates with the local health department.

Russell Kaiser

Chief Nursing Officer

The Colony ER Hospital