What you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

EmblemHealth is proud to partner with Project COVID  which uses Conversational AI to have a conversation with millions of pages of information from the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), NIH (National Institutes of Health), and WHO (World Health Organization) to quickly get your covid-19 questions answered.

Disclaimer

 

There has been a lot of media coverage about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health are closely monitoring the outbreak.

To find out how many cases have been diagnosed in your state, visit the CDC for the most current information on COVID-19 in the U.S. For information about cases in New York State, visit the New York State Department of Health.

We know this may be concerning to you and your family, and we want to share important information about this outbreak.

A coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory illnesses. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City, China and has not previously been seen in humans.

People with COVID-19 can have a range of mild to severe symptoms. Some people may never have any symptoms, but can still carry the virus. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. It can take anywhere from 2-14 days for symptoms to appear. Visit the CDC site for more information.

COVID-19 is a new disease. Based on the information we have, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Health care workers caring for patients with the virus should also exercise extreme caution.

The situation is quickly evolving, so information may change daily. Check the CDC website for the latest updates.

We know that information about COVID-19 may be concerning, especially if you are pregnant or just had a baby. That’s why we’ve put together some resources here to help you through your journey. You can also find updated information on COVID-19 and pregnancy from our medical experts here.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized an at-home test for COVID-19. Once available, these approved tests may be purchased with permission from a doctor, like with a prescription. At-home tests may be covered by your plan’s rules, as well as state and federal regulations.

Not right now. You’re probably hearing a lot in the news about possible COVID-19 vaccines. Like everyone, we are cautiously optimistic that there will soon be safe, effective vaccines for COVID-19. Researchers are working hard and you can check the CDC (link to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html) website for the latest information.

The CDC now recommends that you wear a face covering when you can’t practice social distancing, such as when you need to get essentials like groceries or medicine.

A face covering should fit snuggly on your face, be held by ties or ear loops, let you breathe comfortably, and be washable or disposable. A cloth face covering with multiple layers of fabric will help prevent an infected person without symptoms from spreading the disease. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N95 masks. Those are needed by health care workers and first responders.

After each use, carefully remove the mask and wash your hands. You can clean a cloth mask in your washing machine for the next time you need it. Visit the CDC webpage for some ideas on homemade masks. Remember to continue practicing social distancing and washing your hands often to prevent catching or spreading COVID-19.

The best way to prevent any virus from spreading is to:

·      Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Using a hand sanitizer can help as well, but washing your hands is always preferable. Teach children early on how to properly wash their hands.

·      Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

·      Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·      Stay home when you are sick.

·      Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.

·      Clean and disinfect surfaces and touchpoints like doorknobs, handles, light switches, and your phone.

 

It’s also important to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet (two meters) from other people. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

 

Continue to practice good hygiene to prevent coronavirus, and other severe illnesses like the flu, from spreading.

Yes, children can get COVID-19. While most children have mild symptoms, some children have gotten very sick. It’s important to lower your child’s chances of exposure as much as possible.

The CDC recommends children 2 years and older wear masks. Children under 2 should not wear a mask. Be sure to teach your child not to touch or remove their mask when social distancing is not possible. Children should also follow guidelines to stay at home, wash their hands often, and practice social distancing. Make it fun: Play a game to see who can wash their hands first before meals, make a DIY mask with a fun print, or make an “obstacle course” to get kids moving indoors.

Call your child’s doctor. Many offices have special hours to only care for well and sick children, or have virtual visits available. Your child’s doctor is your best resource and can let you know if your child should be tested. If you need a doctor for your child, consider a pediatrician at AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY). ACPNY offers in-person and virtual visits. If your child is having trouble breathing or experiencing other troublesome symptoms, call 911.

News about this pandemic may be difficult for your child to understand. It may also be causing your child to feel anxious or sad because they miss their friends and family. Here are some tips to help ease their worries:

  • Be informed: Be sure to have up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the rules and regulations put in place to protect us. Make sure to use reputable sources like your state’s department of health, the CDC, or the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Ask, listen, and assure: Ask what they’ve heard, listen to how they feel, and answer with details you think they can handle.
  • Limit news exposure: Avoid constant, graphic news coverage when kids are present. Monitor young children’s activities online to be sure they aren’t being overwhelmed with scary, and possibly false, information.
  • Be a good role model: Children look to their parents for routine and stability. Model good hygiene, reasonable precautions, and a calm attitude.

Speak to your child’s doctor if you are concerned about your child’s reaction to news about COVID-19. Remember that children are resilient and look to you for guidance, care, and love.

As the situation changes, the latest CDC recommendations can be found here. Currently, the CDC recommends that you avoid all non-essential travel to all global destinations. Most foreign nationals who have been to China, Iran, most European countries, and the United Kingdom and Ireland during the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States.

Providers are taking precautions as needed. If you are a patient of an AdvantageCare Physicians provider, you may see some changes like masks available for anyone with a cough or symptoms. Staff may also ask you if you have traveled to infected areas recently. Don’t be alarmed; these protocols are in place to keep you and your community safe. If you have any symptoms, call your doctor before you go. It’s important that you let them know if you have traveled recently or have been in close contact with someone who has traveled to a location with an outbreak.

We recommend that you get your health information from trusted sources such as:

·      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

·      The World Health Organization (WHO)

·      Your doctor or health provider.


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The Avaamo service provides general information and discussions about COVID-19. The information and content provided in the Avaamo chatbox or in any linked materials are NOT intended for and should not be construed as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you read on the Avaamo chatbox or any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

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