You may have a lot of questions about reports of a novel coronavirus strain, COVID-19, which has been confirmed to be present in Oregon as of 2/29/2020. The Center for Natural Medicine has been monitoring the situation regularly and has taken necessary precautions to minimize risk to our patients and staff. We have also prepared the following FAQ to answer many common questions. Please feel free to schedule a conversation with your primary care provider if you have any additional questions or concerns.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF POSSIBLE COVID-19 INFECTION?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please call the clinic or your local health department for advice on what to do next. In order to help prevent the spread to others, please do not come into the clinic or visit other public places until you have been advised to do so by a medical or public health professional.
HOW DOES COVID-19 SPREAD? WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY FAMILY AND MYSELF?
The virus is believed to be spread through close (approximately a 6 foot radius) person-to-person contact. The virus is carried through respiratory droplets, such are as spread when a person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can then be inhaled. It is possible that the virus may be spread by contact with surfaces such as doors or counters, however this is not the primary mechanism for transfer. An actively sick individual may spread the illness to others, whether or not they appear sick.
At this time, the CDC and the World Health Organization are recommending the following precautions to keep yourself healthy:
• Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the day. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use a sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol
• Avoid touching your face
• Avoid close contact with others who are sick
The CDC is not currently recommending that people wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19. For those who are showing symptoms of the virus, it is recommended that they wear a facemask to reduce risk of transmission to others. Facemasks are also recommended for healthcare workers and caretakers of sick individuals.
AM I AT RISK OF SEVERE COMPLICATIONS?
Based on case studies that have been published after initial outbreak of the infection in China, up to 80% of cases of COVID-19 presented either without symptoms or with a very mild presentation similar to the common cold. While current reports of the severity of the virus report a casualty rate of approximately 2-3% of cases, it is likely that this number is inflated due to lower numbers of reported or confirmed cases than are truly present.
To date, the majority of severe cases have been among patients who have other health conditions that impair their immune system. Examples of this are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer. No known cases of fatality have occurred among patients under the age of 10, and most cases of severe or fatal illness have been in patients older than 70 years of age. It appears that the virus is most likely to present symptomatically in patients over the age of 30.
If you are concerned about your specific risk factors, please schedule a conversation with your primary care provider to discuss.
WHERE CAN I FIND RELIABLE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS VIRUS?
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#disease-basics
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019