Coronavirus – What You Need to Know
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus first detected in Wuhan, China, that has caused an outbreak of respiratory illness. The current outbreak has spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries. In the United States, imported cases of coronavirus infection in travelers have been detected and person-to-person spread of the virus also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from China. Cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread are being reported in a growing number of states.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the immediate risk of being exposed to this virus is still low for most Americans. However, that risk is increasing as the outbreak expands. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 is occurring in parts of the United States and the CDC expects that most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus in the coming months.
The U.S. State Department has issued a global Level 4 travel advisory, warning U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return home, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.
Stay informed – the situation with the coronavirus is fluid and the CDC continues to update its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public.
Remember to take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to combat the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
Given the rapidly-evolving situation with COVID-19, it is prudent to revisit your organization’s emergency preparedness plans, including any pandemic planning. The CDC has made planning guides and checklists available for community and faith-based organizations, educational institutions, workplaces and individual households.
Other Helpful Links:
Houses of Worship
Senior Living Communities:
- Preparing for COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, nursing homes
- Preparing for COVID-19 in assisted living facilities
- Preparing for COVID-19 in retirement communities and independent living facilities
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