What You Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Over the past few weeks, a lot of news about coronavirus has been reported as the infectious disease continues to spread worldwide. It was reported that north Mississippi residents who came in contact with Tennessee residents infected with the disease had to been quarantined as a precautionary measure to prevent further infection. And most recently, three new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Forrest County.
As the disease gets closer and closer to our community, everyone is concerned. I want you to know that the health and safety of our employees and the children and families we serve is our first priority. Here are a few of the most important things you need to know about the coronavirus.
HOW IT SPREADS
- The virus spreads easily between people through close contact (within 6 feet), or being in proximity of a carrier when they cough or sneeze. It is most contagious when the carrier is showing the symptoms, which can appear within 2-14 days of exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
- It is suspected it may also be contracted through touching contaminated surfaces as some have been infected with the virus just by being in the area where it is present.
- There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The recommended way to avoid contagion is to avoid close contact with those who are sick. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Clean and disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces regularly. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol content before you eat and after you use the bathroom, blow your nose, cough or sneeze.
- If you are sick, you must stay home from work, school or any other social activities that would expose others, and call a doctor immediately. If you need to go to the hospital, please call the facility and report symptoms, recent travel and possible exposure BEFORE going there. Let them know if you have visited an area or come in contact with someone who has the coronavirus. They will determine with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you need to be tested for the disease. If you HAVE to travel in public it is recommended that you wear a facemask to keep from infecting others and avoid public transportation like trains, buses and taxis. When you sneeze or cough use a tissue and throw the tissue away.
CARE AT HOME
- If you become sick, it is important you stay away from others at home. Stay in an isolated room and even bathroom if possible. Keep frequently touched objects and surfaces cleaned and sanitized. It is recommended that you avoid contact with pets as well during your illness. Do not share everyday items like dishes, silverware, drinking glasses, towels, or bedding with others in the house, and those items should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- If your symptoms worsen (e.g., it becomes harder to breathe), contact a healthcare provider immediately and inform them you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
IF YOU THINK YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS INFECTED
- For every HCHRA employee and family member covered under our health insurance plan, UnitedHealthcare will waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines for all covered members.
- Call your primary care provider right away if you believe you might have been exposed to COVID-19. Your provider will have special procedures for you to follow. UnitedHealthcare members can find a network provider by visiting myuhc.com.
At the center of HCHRA’s purpose is our desire to help families and strengthen communities. We are committed to taking care of our team and those we serve. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to provide guidance and additional information to help keep you and your families safe. To learn more about COVID-19 and for the most up-to-date developments, you can visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov at any time.
President and CEO