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COVID-19 and the Chronic Disease Community

By California Chronic Care Coalition

March 6, 2020

Photo Credit: CDC

As an organization representing health consumers with chronic conditions across the state, the California Chronic Care Coalition understands the concern many have as it relates to the novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19). Here’s what you need to know.

Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency in California over growing concerns and cases of COVID-19. This emergency proclamation makes additional resources available across the state, helps the state prepare for broader spread, protects consumers against price gouging for essential supplies, and more. Gov. Newsom also announced the release of millions of N95 masks to address shortages and that the state is receiving additional test kits from the CDC.

nCOVID-19 in California:

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released the latest statistics on COVID-19. As of Wednesday, there are 53 confirmed cases in California. One person has died from the virus according to Placer County officials and 10 health care workers who were in contact with the patient before isolation are now in quarantine and are being closely monitored.

Here’s the latest from CDPH:

  • 24 – Cases of positive tests related to federal repatriation flights
  • 29 – Cases not related to repatriation flights
    • 12 – Travel-related
    • 10 – Person to person
    • 4 – Community transmission
    • 3 – Currently under investigation
  • 9,400+ – number of people self-monitoring who returned to the U.S. through SFO or LAX
  • 49 – Number of local health jurisdictions involved in self-monitoring
  • 14 – Labs with test kits

What you can do to protect yourself and others:

While COVID-19 is a serious public health concern, it’s important to remember that health risk in California remains low. However, there are still things you can do to help protect yourself and your community.

Following good hygiene practices is especially important now. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for 30 seconds and avoid contact with your nose, mouth, or eyes. If soap and water is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Be sure to cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue that you throw away, and wash your hands immediately after.

Be especially careful when you’re in crowded, public spaces and disinfect any commonly used items or surfaces such as keyboards, desks and tables, phones, doorknobs, sinks, light switches, remote controls, and others.

The World Health Organization suggests that personal protective equipment such as masks and respirators, gloves, and sanitizers be used appropriately and in accordance with public health guidelines based on a person’s risk and encounter with confirmed COVID-19 patients. They ask that asymptomatic individuals of the general population avoid stockpiling so as to not disrupt the supply for health care workers and confirmed cases.

Considerations for the chronic disease community:

It’s important to keep our friends with chronic conditions in mind. Individuals at the highest risk for severe cases include older adults and those with underlying health conditions. Be extra diligent when visiting friends and family in high risk categories, including older adults with medical conditions, such as grandparents and residents in long-term care facilities.

When appropriate and available, utilizing telemedicine is also a good option if you have appointments or need access to healthcare, with your doctor’s recommendation.

If you are exhibiting any symptoms that may be related to COVID-19, be sure to call your healthcare provider or local public health department before going in.

Where to go for more information: Keep up with the latest developments by visiting the California Department of Public Health (@CAPublicHealth), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (@CDCGOV), and the World Health Organization (@WHO) websites.

You can also follow us on Twitter for up-to-date information @CAChronicCare.