Here is the most current thinking from the Pacific Northwest:
COVID-19 is similar to the seasonal flu (influenza) in that:
- Both cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
- Both can be mild or severe — even fatal in rare cases
- Both can result in pneumonia
- Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person (coughing, sneezing, or even just talking)
- Flu can be spread by an infected person for several days BEFORE their symptoms appear, and COVID-19 is believed to be spread in the same manner, but we don’t yet know for sure .
But COVID-19 is different in that:
- COVID-19 might additionally be spread through the airborne route (i.e., through ventilation ducts and if people are breathing the same air in close proximity to an infected person**). Research is still underway.
- COVID-19 is caused by the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, whereas the seasonal flu is a combination/mutation of the different influenza viruses (it different each year)
- The COVID-19 virus is very similar to SARS-CoV that spread in 2003, which is where most of our current understanding for COVID-19 is coming from.
Treatment is similar:
- Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections
- Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever
- Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation
- Flu: Antiviral medications can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of the illness
COVID-19: Antiviral medications are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms
- Flu: A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types, or to reduce the severity, of the flu
COVID-19: NO vaccine is available at this time, though it is in progress
- Both flu and COVID-19 may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing (20 seconds), coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick, and limiting contact with people who are infected (i.e., do your shopping outside of peak hours at the grocery store
- Other tips: avoid crowded areas (public transport, malls, public events, grocery stores at peak hours, crowded gyms, other frequented establishments, etc.), frequently sanitize surfaces that come into contact with people’s hands often (door handles, tables, phones, keyboards, faucet knobs, etc.), wash hands when entering and leaving home/work/restaurants/bathrooms to limit spread, avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, and eyes) in general
- If sick, stay home, limit contact with others (including pets), avoid coughing or sneezing onto people and things, clean surfaces often, and call a medical care provider about care and testing (do NOT go to the doctor or ER with mild symptoms unless you are in a high risk group)
- Note: Older people and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk based on current knowledge, so protect them by staying away from them. Children are currently noted to have milder symptoms.
**NOTE ABOUT ‘CASUAL TRANSMISSION’ — I.E., COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION WITH NO KNOWN EXPOSURE TO AN INFECTED PERSON:
- As mentioned above, COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.
- There have been documented cases of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 up to 14 days before the onset of symptoms.
- The use of masks and gloves is controversial. The use of such personal protective equipment is helpful in specific situations, such as when caring for a person known to be infected. If you are interested having masks and/or gloves for personal use, please talk to Chris about the proper use and precautions to take when doing so.
- Make sure you are not the one contaminating the environment with commonsense measures such as: using disinfecting wipes on shopping cart handles, touching railings and countertops others may touch after you, opening doors with unclean, bare hands.
Here is what I sent my staff late last week:
All, see symptoms below – if you are sick, please stay home.
I have asked Chris and Michelle to give me some ideas on recommendations on how to responsibly deal with this from a medical issue. We will give you all our thoughts early next week.
All, please email to Leslie all your contact information and a close contact too. Leslie, please share that with all.
All, please let me know if anyone needs any technology to work from home if necessary if this becomes a bigger problem. Think about what you might need to work from home for an extended period of time. What do you need to effectively do your job from home – computer, paper, pens, etc.? COVID-19 is not an excuse to work from home, but I want to be prepared and sensible.
Also, let’s look at travel schedules over the coming months to see if there are alternatives. Please shoot me your travel over the next 30-60 days.
All, take a hard look at your cases – what deadlines might be impacted by Court and other office closures, etc. I want us to be proactive and think ahead. I do not want deadlines missed.
Finally, not to be a “prepper,” but Kelli, please drop $2,500 (pre-tax) into everyone’s account on Monday to be used as they see fit to prepare for some disruptions. I have not thought of exactly what those needs might be, but there are probably a few websites that have suggestions.
Here are some ideas for being prepared for home:
All medications (over the counter *ibuprofen* , allergy, cold etc and prescriptions )
All household products you will need for two weeks (toilet paper, soap, paper towels, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, etc)
Supply of water for two weeks
Food for two weeks
⁃ Chicken broth
⁃ Potatoes – sweet, Yukon, etc
⁃ Canned tomatoes
⁃ Steel cut oats
⁃ Peanut butter
⁃ Bread *freezer*
⁃ Frozen meat
⁃ Canned fish
⁃ Jerky or dried meat
⁃ Dried nuts and fruit
⁃ Wine/booze of choice