The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
We at Camai Community Health Center are monitoring the situation daily and receiving updates and guidance from the CDC and the Health Department in Anchorage. Here is an update with the most current information:
This family of viruses is responsible for many of the cases of the common cold. This newly discovered one has not been studied well yet. Here’s what is known so far.
As of February 28, 2020, there were:
• 83,861 reported cases globally, the vast majority in China
• 2,867 associated deaths worldwide
• 53 cases within the United States and no deaths
Across China, about 80% of cases are mild, about 14% are severe, and about 6% become critically ill. The percentage of known infected people who die is between 2% and 4% in Hubei province, and 0.7% in other parts of China. The time between being exposed and showing symptoms appears to range from 2-14 days.
We have heard the current COVID-19 outbreak be compared to the 1918 flu epidemic. Fact: The 1918 influenza pandemic resulted in about 500 million illnesses and about 50 million deaths worldwide. However, there were no vaccines and no antibiotics to fight the secondary bacterial pneumonias that were responsible for most of the deaths in 1918 caused by the flu virus.
What we have now is an “infodemic”. A whole lot of bad information being circulated at breakneck speed. We want you to have factual and most up to date information. Here is a link to the best information source we have:
Printouts of advice for communities and about risk assessment are available and we would be happy to share with you, please contact us and we will send them your way.
Camai is very concerned about the following information:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that from October 1, 2019 through February 22, 2020 there have been 32-45 million cases of influenza in the US which has resulted in 18-46 thousand deaths. We have a vaccine for the flu which, even if it doesn’t prevent you from getting the flu, usually results in a less severe illness. Why is no one raising an alarm about the flu? Because it’s old news and familiar to us. Anything new is always scary, and not as much is known or understood about this Corona virus compared to flu viruses. That doesn’t mean we need to panic.
What can we do to protect ourselves?
• Get a flu vaccination.
• Wash your hands with soap and water; if you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and rub it in briskly.
• Keep your hands away from your face.
• Stay away from people who are coughing as much as possible.
• Masks don’t protect you from circulating viruses, but they soak up some of the airborne secretions that sick people give off, so sick people should wear them.
• If you’re sick STAY HOME!
Camai management has been involved with the Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC) and plans have been developed for emergency situations. However, no one at Camai is an infection disease expert and if the Coronavirus gets to the level where that is needed, we will be involved with the statewide action plan through the Department of Health and Human Services.
We hope this information will help you feel better informed about the Coronavirus situation. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns you have, and we will update everyone as new information becomes available. Feel free to share this information.