What is COVID-19?
The COVID-19 virus (also commonly known as Coronavirus) has been circling the news, social media, and conversations in the last few weeks. As you are probably already aware, the virus started in China and has spread to numerous countries including Japan, S. Korea, Italy, Iran and the US.
What Parents Need to Know
As far as our patients are concerned, the virus seems to be very mild in children. The CDC put out a report earlier this week that children seem to have mild upper respiratory symptoms. At this time, we are unaware of any reports that children have died from this illness (to compare- 125 children have died from influenza this season alone). The average number of flu cases in the US alone is 60 million whereas there have been about 90 thousand cases of COVID-19 throughout the world. Our phone nurses have been fielding many calls regarding this, and we are recommending reassurance to families that their kids aren’t at risk.
There have been a few reported cases of COVID 19 in the US and one who didn’t have known contact with someone at risk. The CDC is putting out daily updates on the virus and is concerned that it could become more widespread. Please be assured that the Colorado State Department of Health and Larimer County and Weld County Departments of Health will notify us of cases in Colorado as they are identified.
As cases are identified in Colorado, we will be asking our patients’ families specific questions to identify if they or their children are at risk of being infected by this virus. If they are at risk, we will follow recommendations of the CDC and the Colorado State Department of Health as to how to proceed with their care.
Many are concerned about an epidemic of COVID-19 occurring in the US. We would like to remind everyone that we have been in the midst of an epidemic of influenza for the past 3 months and we have all done well. Influenza will always be more dangerous to the world than COVID 19 will be.
The CDC put out a review of the rate of illness from the COVID-19. They found that the risk for people living in the home of documented COVID-19 cases in the US had a 10% chance of developing the illness. The risk for all potential exposures to documented cases was less than ½ of 1% (0.45%). To give perspective on this, the infection rate of people exposed to chickenpox by family members approaches 90% We need to continue to have perspective on the COVID-19. It will be a problem, but it likely won’t be the problem that the media is predicting.
How Can We Reduce Risk?
General recommendations for all of us during the sick season are to keep our fingers out of our noses, hands away from our faces, clean our hands frequently with hand sanitizer or with washing and keep areas clean where patients and families have been by using cleansing agents on countertops, phones and computers.
We will be sending out intermittent updates about the COVID-19 virus and our response plans as things progress. If you have questions about the virus or about our process in responding to its potential effects on our community, please let us know. We will be happy to address questions to the best of our ability.
Lastly, please realize that this virus may have started in China, but it could have begun anywhere. We need to be culturally sensitive to our peers and clients who are Asian. There have been reports of mistreatment of people of Asian descent throughout the country due to fears of the COVID-19 virus. We are all on this hurtling orb called Earth and all have the same hopes desires and fears. A little gentleness and compassion will go a long way at a time like this.
If you have questions about the virus or how to reduce risk during the sick season please contact Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado at 970.494.2626