WRENTHAM — Coronavirus has been recently renamed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.
This is a new disease caused by a novel coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The Public Health Nurses’s office receives updates from the CDC on a regular basis to keep up to date. The Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses also sends out statements to keep all health care clinicians current on this rapidly evolving situation.
While the coronavirus is a serious issue, the risk in Massachusetts currently remains low. The current total COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is 56. To put things in perspective, some additional numbers are as follows, as of Feb. 23:
Worldwide there are 291,000-646,000 flu deaths each year, with 12,000-61,000 in the U.S.
No one is sure in what direction this virus may move or how quickly. But decreasing the spread of the virus is the main concern.
Virus symptoms include fever, coughing, shortness of breath and may lead to pneumonia.
While there is no treatment for coronavirus at this time, supportive NPI (non-pharmacological interventions) include: fluids, Tylenol, rest and good, common sense hygiene to prevent spreading of the virus. A person under investigation is someone who has the above symptoms and has travelled in Asia within 14 days or has been in contact with a known coronavirus case.
If any person meets these criteria, they should call their doctor and report it but NOT go to their doctors office. The doctor will arrange for the patient to have testing done (oropharynx and nasopharynx swabs, similar to a strep test) and will contact the CDC for potential quarantining and medical support at predetermined locations.
The CDC also has the following recommendations:
• Get the flu shot (a flu vaccine available in the clinic at town hall)
• Postpone any travel to Asia
• Cover coughs and sneezes (use elbow instead of hands)
• Avoid touching face, eyes, nose
• Stay home if sick
• Get the flu vaccine
• Avoid hand-shaking
• Avoid sick people
• Wear a mask if sick, especially if going to the doctor’s office
Additionally, health care workers will be on the lookout for respiratory patients who have travelled to Asia recently. By identifying the virus, we can better control its spread.
The public can protect themselves by practicing good, sensible hygiene. Handwashing should be conducted for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Antibacterial gel can be used until a sink is available.
At Wrentham Town Hall, there are stations at both main floor entrances with Purell, gloves, masks and alcohol wipes but if sick, please stay home. There will be updates on the Public Health Nurses page on the town website with links and fact sheets on coronavirus.
Public Health Nurses regularly attend the Board of Health meetings and use this as a means to disseminate this information out to the general public.
There will be clinics as usual where residents can have their vital signs assessed: blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation levels and blood sugars can be checked. “Nurse Connect” is now being offered as well where an individual can have a private one-on-one session with a nurse to address any medical issues.
Visit us at the clinics or call the PHN office to arrange this service or stop in (as long as not sick).
The clinics are as follows: the second Wednesday of the month at Liberty Pines, the third Wednesday of the month at the Wrentham Senior Center and the fourth Wednesday of the month at Bennett Gardens.