Questions from COVID-19 Briefings 3/11/2020

Are children more susceptible to contracting the virus than the general population?

  • There is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults.

What about the people that are not reporting their symptoms because they are “flu-like” and they suspect it is just the flu?

  • At this time, if a person suspects that they have the flu, and they do not meet the criteria for COVID-19 screening questions (travel history, close contact with a positive COVID-19 case) they will likely not be tested for COVID-19. The individual can call and report symptoms to the doctor, who will determine whether they should be tested.

What are the susceptibility rates vs poor outcome rates of “high-risk” populations?

  • “High-risk patients” such as older adults, or people with underlying health conditions are not more likely to contract the virus, but they are more likely to develop serious symptoms of COVID-19.

Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?

  • It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months.  At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer.

Will there be a vaccine?

  • It typically takes several months to years to develop a safe and effective vaccine. Even with the urgency of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is unlikely a safe and effective vaccine will be developed and available before 2021.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

  • There is no specific treatment for coronavirus infections. Treatment consists of supportive care and relief of symptoms. Please consult a licensed physician or other healthcare provider for additional recommendations about disease treatment.

I plan to travel in the upcoming days, weeks, months…should I cancel?

  • CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to international destinations that have widespread ongoing transmission. These include China, Iran, South Korea, European Countries, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. These travel notices are evolving daily, so check the CDC website for further guidance.
  • CDC recommends that people at higher risk (Older people and people with severe chronic conditions) of serious COVID-19 illness avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be more likely to get infected if you travel there than if you stay home. If you have questions about your destination, you should check your destination’s local health department website for more information.

Who needs to wear masks?

  • CDC DOES NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
  • The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

How to I respond from skepticism in faith-based communities? (i.e., not canceling church services/communion/shaking hands)

  • Encourage communication with local public health department to facilitate access to relevant information about COVID-19 and the severity of the spread in the community.
  • Having a good contingency plan in place and developing flexible policies and procedures to accommodate public health recommendations can help reduce infection
  • Distribute health messages and materials to staff, volunteers, and the community. Promote everyday preventive actions (e.g., stay home when sick, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash hands often) to avoid spread if you are going to continue services or community-based events.
  • Consider the needs of older adults, persons with disabilities, and other individuals with access and functional needs in your response plan.

Should we be canceling events for schools, work, out of state travel?

  • CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices at this time. This includes China, Iran, South Korea, European countries, The United Kingdom and Ireland at this time.
  • If you are traveling within the United States, and COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be at higher risk of exposure if you travel there.
  • Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19, if there are other travelers with COVID-19.

What precautionary measures can we take for employees or coworkers returning from international travel? Are there policies in place for protecting my staff from potential exposure (i.e. self-monitoring/self-quarantine requirements)?

  • Businesses can actively encourage sick employees to stay home by ensuring that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance.
  • If an employee has close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, they may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. This is up to the discretion of the supervisor at this time.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

 

Answers sourced from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health.

March 19, 2020

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