“This is the time to open up your pandemic plans and see that things are in order,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, a top official of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged hospitals as an outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus ravaged much of China.
“For instance,” she continued, health-care providers need to plan for a “surge at a hospital, the ability to provide personal protective equipment for your workforce, the administrative controls and so forth that you might put place in a health care setting.”
Schuchat’s warning came as U.S. and world health officials increasingly sound the alarm of a possible pandemic outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus that has killed more than 2,100 people in China in the last seven weeks.
U.S. hospitals from San Diego to New York are taking heed.
The threat of the new virus comes at an already busy time for most U.S. hospitals. Another serious respiratory illness, the seasonal flu, is at its peak in the United States, with more than 26 million cases and many hospitals stretched thin. A larger spread of the new virus across the U.S. could overwhelm emergency rooms and quickly cause supply shortages of some crucial medical supplies, according to half a dozen interviews with doctors, U.S. hospitals and health systems.
Hospital staff at San Diego-based Scripps Health are consolidating medical supplies such as masks, gloves and gowns and have ordered backup reserves in case of a widespread outbreak in the United State, said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, chief medical officer.
Health-care workers are being taught how to reuse N95 respirator masks, most often used to control exposures to infections, in case of wide-spread shortages, she said.
Staff at NYU Langone Health in New York City has designated the new virus as a “level 1” priority.
“A big part of this level is communication,” said Dr. Jennifer Lighter, hospital epidemiologist there.
“We are trying to communicate to NYU staff and patients in our medical center how to best protect themselves from the flu or COVID-19,” Lighter said. “That’s just general info like basic hand hygiene, sneezing into the end of your elbow and practicing safe distance from someone who is sick.”
NYU is also preparing for a level 2 or 3 scenario, she added, where there is transmission in the city and it begins to impact hospital operations. The health-care system has implemented a conservation plan and medical supplies, especially respirator masks, are only given to staff as needed, she said.
“If a team needed more, they would have to be infection-prevention approved or manager approved before someone would get more,” she said, adding staff is already feeling the brunt of the flu season.
IF YOU HAVEN'T "PREPPED YET, YOU HAVE ONLY *** DAYS *** LEFT TO DO IT
The best strategy for this is NOT to be exposed. Fat chance of that; we ALL go out: Work, school, shopping, recreation, and so forth.
So how might we protect ourselves while we're out?
Well, the fact this virus can be spread by air, in addition to staying alive on surfaces like counter tops, desks, water fountains, door handles, inside cars and buses, product packages on store shelves that someone else handled, or sneezed-on or coughed-on, - including ones that get delivered by mail, FedEx, UPS, etc. -- complicates things greatly.
Step One: Stay home. Do not go out unless you absolutely MUST.
Step Two: Presuming you have to go out (we ALL do) wear a filter mask eye and hand protective gear (below).
The N-95 filter masks are almost completely sold out already, nationwide. So you can get a better mask rated as N-100 or P-100 for the time being until THEY sell out. Links to various suppliers are HERE-N-95 and HERE N-100. (I am NOT the seller)
Get a box of rubber/nitrile Gloves (Here)
Wear this gear when you go out.
Yes, you'll look and feel ridiculous. But you are much more likely to have the last laugh because YOU are protecting yourself.
THIS IS URGENTLY IMPORTANT:
The absolute moment you get home, take off your shoes and leave them in the foyer. DO NOT WALK AROUND YOUR HOUSE IN SHOES YOU WORE OUTSIDE.
You may have walked on a large amount of infected material as you were out and if you wear those shoes in the house, the virus will spread in the house.
Next: Go into the bathroom, take off your clothing, put it in a hamper or plastic bag, and take a shower. You HAVE TO WASH OFF any virus that may have landed on your body or hair, while you were out.
Put on clean garments. You cannot go sit in your chair or lay on your couch or bed in clothing you wore outside. The virus will come off the clothing, onto the furniture and pow, someone in the house catches it.
Make every person in your household do this the absolute moment they come home. This virus is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS and it KILLS people. We cannot skimp or get lazy protecting ourselves.
Eat right, take vitamins (I use Centrum), and, I don't want to sound hokey, or like some Bible thumper, pray to Almighty God that you be protected by Him during this crisis. I'm not kidding. I mean it: PRAY.
Even if you haven't prayed in decades, start now. "Hi God, it's me (so and so). I know I haven't prayed to you in a long time, but I'm coming back to you now. . . . ."
And then talk honestly and earnestly to him, in a very quiet voice.
Just remember, this is God, not a magician to be summoned to do tricks or render services at our beckon call. He made us. We are HIS to do with a HE sees fit.
OTHER "PREPS" with Links
Have Emergency Water (HERE) stored up in case the water supply gets contaminated.
Here is a complete list of "Preps" that folks might consider for themselves.
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