Coronavirus Update 3/12/2020, 7:30 am
Thu 3/12/2020 7:30 am
UPDATE 3/12/2020 at 7:30 am
Factual Update & What To Do
This is Lisa Reynolds, MD. Portland Pediatrician on the frontlines of the coronavirus epidemic. Mom and daughter. Candidate for Oregon HD36.
Factual update Coronavirus
A lot has happened over the past 24 hours.
WORLDWIDE: The WHO has confirmed what we already knew: Coronavirus is officially a pandemic [Once an epidemic spreads to multiple countries or regions of the world, it is considered a pandemic. However, some epidemiologists classify a situation as a pandemic only once the disease is sustained in some of the newly affected regions through local transmission.]
WORLDWIDE CONFIRMED CASES: 128,000 cases, 111 countries, 4,700 deaths.
US CONFIRMED CASES: 1,300 cases, 44 states, 37 deaths
OREGON CONFIRMED CASES: 21 cases confirmed, including two at a long term care facility (veteran’s home) in Lebanon.
OREGON’S Gov Brown is holding a news conference on coronavirus at 11 am today. Expected announcements:
No school closings at this time, but non-essential school meetings/gatherings should be cancelled.
Gatherings of more than 250 people will be banned (for 4 weeks)
Testing for the coronavirus will be at medical provider discretion (ie lifting state regulations). The collection process for samples to test for coronavirus has been simplified (no longer needing N95 masks, which are in very short supply, but regular mask, gown (SHORT SUPPLY), gloves, eye protection).
There are now FIVE hospital systems who can run tests for coronavirus
Employers should help with social distancing by staggering work schedules, limit meetings and increase “personal space”
OREGON UNIVERSITIES join hundreds across the US (including the two that my sons attend) in announcing a shift to online learning. This includes Univ of Oregon, OSU, PSU so far.
NATIONALLY: Trump has announced travel restrictions to Europe.
NATIONALLY: The NBA has suspended its season after a player tested positive for coronavirus. HIgh school and college basketball championship tournaments will play to empty stands.
Yes, this means massive disruption in our work and our education. (And I’m calling for even more disruption.) The lives of Oregonians and the safety of our health system depend on making the right choices right now.
What to do
Continue frequent hand washing/hand sanitizing. Stay home if you’re sick. Clean surfaces with clorox wipes. Try not to touch your face. These are necessary but insufficient steps.
Social isolation for high risk individuals: Those over 60 years old and those with medical risk (heart disease, lung disease, diabetes) should stay home. (CDC)
We need social distancing for everyone (the only action that has been shown to slow the disease in an outbreak):
Cancel large gatherings. Consider cancelling small gatherings too.
Tighten restrictions at nursing homes. Screen all employees and visitors.
Learn and work from home wherever possible.
We can do hard things. We will organize food for the kids who rely on schools for their meals.
State and federal governments MUST take on the cost of coronavirus. We need to pay for the sick leave of stricken workers or family members as well as those whose work hours we curtail. We cannot let coronavirus and the economic fallout further jeopardize our vulnerable neighbors.
For houseless Oregonians, who are particularly vulnerable: Screening at shelters and isolating the sick, dispensing hand sanitizer, outreach.
If sick, get tested, once it becomes available. We need widespread testing ASAP. We need drive through testing (as in University of Washington). Testing helps us understand the pandemic as well as assess a patient’s prognosis and need for isolation.
REMEMBER THE CURVE. We need to #Flattenthecurve