Providers at Pacific Medical Group (PMG) continue to see high levels of flu and other viral illnesses, consistent with national trends. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates that this will continue for several more weeks.
This flu season has been complicated by a new, or novel coronavirus, which has spread worldwide. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and on February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the official name of the disease caused by the virus coronavirus disease 19, or COVID-19.
COVID-19 is passed from person to person through respiratory droplets, similar to the flu. Symptoms can include fever, cough and trouble breathing. Most illnesses have been mild but some have been fatal.
It is critical to know trusted sources of information as this health emergency evolves including the CDC, WHO, and Oregon Health Authority:
The CDC recommends certain measures to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, including:
Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands, preferably with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, but alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be used.
- Clean commonly touched objects and surfaces such as phones, keyboards and countertops.
It is important to keep in mind that if you are sick with a fever and cough, it is far more likely to be influenza or one of the many other typical viruses circulating this time of year. However if you have concerting symptoms and/or you think you may have had exposure to COVID-19, you should call ahead to your healthcare provider’s office to discuss your concerns. Your healthcare professional can then work with public health officials to determine next steps for testing and care.
It is also important to keep this all in perspective. Already there are reports of social stigma toward those of Chinese or other Asian descent. A person’s race has nothing to do with his or her risk of spreading this disease. Anyone who has returned from China for more than 14 days and has remained without symptoms is not infected with the virus and cannot give you COVID-19. So while much of the focus right now is on “isolation” and “protection,” don’t forget to check on your neighbors and loved ones, and lend a helping hand. Just make sure you wash it first!