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Coronavirus Update Today: March 5, 2020

International

Italy – all colleges, universities now closed (as well as schools)

Learning that the median age of sickness is 60; Of death, 80. No one under 30 has died. This data is all important in knowing how to focus and what direction to go in.

Sick pay from day one in England for those affected by coronavirus – Statutory Sick Pay will be made available from day one when self-isolating, instead of day four, the Prime Minister announced today.

South Korea is the location of the largest outbreak, other than China. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a letter to South Korean leader Moon expressing wishes they overcome the situation – he also expressed concern for Moon’s health.

National

Uber and Lyft – some drivers are no longer picking up from airports; and have taken to wearing gloves and masks.

Texas and New Jersey reporting their first case.

Time to focus on seniors – doubling down on senior protection in Washington state, including limiting visitors; monitoring staff, state surveyors going to be interviewing nursing homes.

Pharmaceutical companies are working together.

Airbnb is offering free cancellations for impacted hosts and guests.

United Airlines plans to reduce its North American flights by 10% in April and its international flights by 20%, through May. Planes will be “parked”, and they expect to pay their employees.

Universities are recommending against spring break travel.

Yeshiva University is closed because of a related case of a student’s family.

New James Bond movie moved for release from April to November

Barack Obama tweeted advice: “Let’s stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science”

Chicago State Univ. canceling student basketball games.

Cruise Ship on its way back to LA with sick passengers will be held aboard, though some have exited into the community. LA declares state of emergency.

Rhode Island, etc.

New from the RIDOH:

Press event today with Governor Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), to provide updates.

Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 2 – not including a Massachusetts resident who was on the Saint Raphael Academy trip to Italy.Number of people who had negative test results at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 11

Number of people instructed to self-quarantine: approximately 200

St. Ray’s Academy will remain closed another week, and they will continue online coursework through March 13. Quarantine recommendations are now expanding as tracing efforts are identifying more people who had exposure – however slight – to anyone testing positive at the school.

Doctors & Dentists beginning precautions (from Providence Journal)RI Medical Society is asking patients about respiratory symptoms, and travel or exposure to individuals with known infection. Asking patients to alert us in advance of appointments so that we are prepared to provide the best care for them and that is safest for the other patients and personnel in the practices.

Nursing Homes – “All nursing homes in the state are taking this matter very seriously,” said Scott Fraser, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Care Association. We are telling our members to follow the Health Department and American Health Care Association guidelines for dealing with COVID-19. Our homes have posted signs asking visitors who may be experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms to please avoid visiting. We are asking employees to stay home if they are sick.”

Hospitals – Lifespan hospitals are in Incident Command mode. They are advising people with fever or who are sneezing, sniffling or coughing not to visit. Children 12 and younger “are barred from visiting Hasbro Children’s Hospital or critical/intensive care units at any hospital. They are reducing traffic to critical/intensive care units, limiting visitation to two people designated for the entirety of a patient’s stay.” They are also have advising patients with fever or respiratory symptoms, especially with a recent international travel history or close contact with someone who has traveled, not to come unannounced to an emergency department or urgent care, but rather contact their primary provider or the RIDOH screening line at 222-8022. They will be counseled on whether, when and where the patient should be evaluated.”  Care New England has similar protocols in place.

Public Places such as The Dunk, Amtrak, etc. are being aggressively sanitized and events and travel are taking place.

RI Venture Cafe at the CIC Bldg (Wexford) – in-person events cancelled for now.

Preparedness

Sanitizer Recipe – As sanitizer becomes hard to find, CBS News posted a video on how to make your own:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hand-sanitizer-coronavirus-make-your-own/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=83564336

Testing will now be available for anyone requesting a test who has a physician order one. Federal government is working to expand testing to local labs, including CVS, Quest, etc. so test accessibility will be widespread in the near future. How the test is paid for remains unclear – free or through insurance, with usual co-pays.

Sneeze into your elbow? Some medical people are changing protocols to cover your sneeze with a tissue – and not sneezing into your elbow – due to high contagion of vapor particles.

This is the time to ramp up Virtual Doctor’s Visits – over your phone app or your computer… if you are insured by BCBS check into it – some large employers also offer this service through their benefits – call your HR Dept.

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