COVID-19 is a novel (new) strain of a coronavirus that causes a respiratory illness. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which cause illnesses such as the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Scientists have named this new virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Initial cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. Since then, the virus has spread rapidly, and is affecting people on a global scale including the United States.
As it stands, the complete clinical picture is not fully known of COVID-19. Public health groups, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are working with scientists and doctors to learn more and regularly updating information on their websites.
Galen is working hard to meet the medical needs of patients during these uncertain times specifically through our Galen Remote Access Care services, and drive-up COVID-19 testing for potentially infected patients.
Cases of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and some may have no symptoms at all. In many cases, symptoms become more severe during the second week of illness, so regular phone or telehealth check-ins with a healthcare provider are recommended during this stage.
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, our COVID-19 response team is here to help. Our telehealth services through Galen Remote Access Care have been put in place to address your needs at a distant while also providing the best possible care.
Currently, we are experiencing ongoing community spread and any close contact with someone who may have COVID-19 increases your risk.
Older adults and those of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or otherwise weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 infection.
Since there is currently no treatment available for COVID-19 and no vaccine available to prevent infection, the best way to prevent infection is to prevent our exposure. COVID-19 spreads person to person through tiny droplets of snot or sputum called “respiratory droplets.” These droplets are expelled from the mouth or nose of an infected person when he or she coughs, sneezes, or even breathes and talks. Droplets can infect another person through direct transmission– by landing directly on another person’s face, eyes, nose, or mouth– or can be transmitted indirectly from landing on surfaces we touch. This is where social distancing and practicing hygiene come into play.
The most critical step in preventing the spread of this dangerous virus is hand washing. Thorough and frequent hand washing– for at least 20 seconds with soap and water– is by far our best defense against COVID-19. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol as an alternative.
Avoid touching the eyes, nose, mouth, and face with unwashed hands, as these areas are the pathways through which the virus enters the body.
It is imperative to avoid close contact with anyone who is sick, especially if that person is actively coughing or sneezing. We also know that even those who are infected but not showing symptoms of the virus can still infect others. Social distancing is even more key in preventing the spread in cases such as these. Stay well and stay away!