CMSA'S Today eNewsletter

Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19): Information and Resources

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Pat Stricker, RN, MEd
Former SVP, Clinical Services
TCS Healthcare Technologies

As everyone is well aware, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is sweeping the globe. Since it was first reported in December 2019 to the World Health Organization by China, it has been reported in 159 counties worldwide, causing 184,976 reported cases and 7,529 deaths, according to the WHO website statistics of March 17, 2020. The U.S. has 3,536 reported cases with 58 deaths.  

And it is continuing to increase extremely rapidly. There are no vaccines or treatments identified to combat this new virus, so the greatest fear is that large numbers of patients will become severely ill at the same time, requiring respirators and intensive care beds. This could overwhelm hospital and healthcare system resources, resulting in a large number of deaths. In an attempt to slow down the transmission, regions and countries around the world have instituted large-scale “lockdowns” to enforce “social distancing.”

I know everyone is overloaded with information about the virus, but don’t worry, this article in not going to re-state basic information and data that is being reported by numerous organizations on a daily basis. Things are changing too quickly to do that, and there are already many reputable sources that are consolidating and updating that information daily. However, while there is an immense amount of information available on the internet and TV, some of it may not be totally accurate, and trying to find up-to-date, accurate information in a timely manner is difficult and time-consuming.   

The purpose of this article is to consolidate key clinical and educational information from reputable websites and resources into one document, a Resource List, so you can quickly refer to it when dealing with patients and family members.

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sites were chosen as the main sources for a large portion of the information about COVID-19, since they are responsible for oversight and management of the outbreak in the world (WHO) and in the U.S. (CDC). In addition, they are the most reputable sources of accurate, up-to-date information for this pandemic.

  • WHO is the lead agency for international health in the United Nations system. Seven thousand employees work with 194 member states in 150 offices to direct and coordinate international health. They work to combat diseases, help mothers and children survive/thrive, ensure the safety of air, food, water, medicines and vaccines, and are responsible for preparedness, surveillance and response. WHO’s main goals are to ensure people have universal health coverage, protect them from health emergencies, and provide them with better health and well-being.

    WHO is responsible for the overall global coronavirus (COVID-19) initiative, and their website is the key source for global health information and planning. The WHO website includes links to:

    -Guidelines for how to protect yourself from contracting the virus
    -Educational and online training material and videos for the public and healthcare workers (text documents, posters, and videos)
    -Question & answers, myth-busters, and travel advice
    -Research and development activities, clinical trials, and a list of publications
    -Situation reports and updates
    -A COVID-19 map with statistics by country and daily count of global cases and deaths

  • The CDC, a department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the key clinical agency for U.S. information and data. It is responsible for national health security, combats disease, supports communities and citizens, conducts critical science initiatives, provides health information and responds to health and safety threats.

    The CDC website provides the most comprehensive information on COVID-19 with information on: symptoms, how to disinfect, travel warnings and restrictions and how-to-prepare resources for schools, businesses and travelers. It also offers the latest official coronavirus updates, as well as a map of reported cases in the U.S. by state.

Other websites are also included as resources for more specific, pertinent information related to certain conditions, federal and state agencies, professional associations, and statistical data.    

The Resource List also includes some educational and operational resources that can be used by management for staff in-services or for program development.  

The Resource List is organized by organizations (WHO, CDC, etc.) and topics (education, videos, statistics, etc.). The goal is to make the information you need very quick and easy to find. A large amount of additional information is available on these websites, but it was not added to the list because it did not seem to be needed by most case managers. However, you can change that if you wish.

The Resource List is designed to be edited by you, so it meets your specific needs. It is provided as a WORD document for you to download (or you can copy/paste the list into a WORD document). This will allow you to edit it to meet your individual needs, adding or deleting items as needed. When viewing the WORD document, the capitalized, bolded HEADINGS can be found in the Navigation bar on the left. Clicking on a HEADING will quickly take you to that section. (Turn on the Navigation bar by going to VIEW on the horizontal bar and selecting NAVIGATION PANE).    

I hope you will find this Resource List helpful.

Before we look at the Resource List, let’s review coronaviruses (CoV) first. They are a family of viruses known to cause the common cold and severe respiratory diseases, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), identified in 2012, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), identified in 2003. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing alarm because it is the first time it has been found in humans, and it has shown an extremely rapid transmission rate across the entire globe compared to the other coronaviruses. The following comparisons are described on the WHO website:

  • SARS-CoV was initially identified in Asia in 2003 and spread to twenty-six countries within a few month, causing 8,089 cases and 774 deaths (9.6%*).  It was transmitted from cevit cats to humans and then spread from person-to-person through respiratory secretions and stool. Most cases occurred in healthcare settings. Experimental vaccines were being developed, and no specific treatments were available. Improved infection control practices brought the outbreak to an end. Only 8 cases were reported in the U.S., and no cases have been reported since 2004.
  • MERS-CoV was initially identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. It spread to 27 countries, causing 2,494 cases and 858 deaths (35%*). There is evidence that dromedary camels are a major reservoir of transmission of the disease, and then it is transmitted person-to-person with close contact. Most human cases are reported in healthcare settings, and no vaccine or specific treatments are available.
  • The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, not previously found in humans. It is being transmitted much more quickly than MERS or SARS and was identified as a pandemic in a matter of 2 months. Its person-to-person transmission rate is frightening, it is more severe with older adults and those with other health conditions, and there are no vaccine or treatments at this time. So countries are concerned that if a very large number of patients become severely ill at the same time the hospitals and healthcare systems will be overwhelmed and will not have enough intensive care beds, ventilators, or resources to care for them, resulting in a very high death rate. In order to get the outbreak under control cities, states, regions and countries are instituting large “lockdowns.”

    Common symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, cough, shortness of breath and respiratory difficulties. Severe cases can include pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.

    Recommendations to prevent infection include: regular hand-washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs and avoiding close contact with anyone with symptoms.

* NOTE: Statistics were obtained from the WHO website on March 17, 2020.


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