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The Health Collaborative is taking an active role to support our region during the current COVID-19 outbreak through our Greater Cincinnati Disaster Preparedness Coalition (DPC). The DPC’s primary role is to facilitate regional coordination and collaboration among all Coalition members in their response to COVID-19. Members include hospitals, emergency medical services, emergency management, public health and other community partners in the TriState region.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, that has only spread in people since December 2019.
Health experts are closely monitoring the situation because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.
How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?
COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. That means to become infected, you generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or possibly eyes. Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
How long does it take for symptoms of the COVID-19 to appear?
The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure.
How is COVID-19 treated?
There is currently no FDA approved medication for COVID-19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive care such as rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
Is there a vaccine?
Currently, there is no vaccine available.
How can I best protect myself?
Practice the following:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Standard household cleansers and wipes are effective in cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
Want to learn more about what you can do to protect you and your family from COVID-19?
I have a chronic condition that puts me at high risk. How can I best protect myself?
Unfortunately, there is not yet a vaccine that can prevent COVID-19, so we cannot prevent the disease.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new, so we don’t yet understand exactly how it impacts specific groups of high-risk people. But, those who are thought to be most susceptible to serious complications of COVID-19 include people who:
- Are over age 65.
- Have cancer.
- Have hypertension.
- Have lung disease.
- Have diabetes.
- Have heart disease.
- Have another condition that compromises the immune system.
- Are taking medications that suppress the immune system.
But there are things you can do to minimize your risk if you have a weakened immune system or are immunocompromised. Find out what steps you should take if you’re considered high risk
Should I wear a face mask? Will that help protect me?
If you are sick: You should wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a face mask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a face mask). Face masks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
I have an appointment at a hospital or doctor’s office and I am concerned about COVID-19. Should I cancel my appointment?
Area hospitals are taking necessary precautions on behalf of patients, visitors and caregivers. The Ohio Governor’s office, in collaboration with the Ohio Hospital Association, announced new guidelines on postponing non-essential surgeries, a related procedures, for adult and pediatric patients. At this time primary care providers are reviewing patient records and encouraging all of our Ohio patients with non-essential primary care appointments scheduled to take place in the next few weeks to consider rescheduling for three months out.
What surgeries and procedures are “non-essential”?
Examples of non-essential surgeries and related procedures include deferrable bronchoscopy, deferrable upper and lower endoscopies, routine dental procedures, stable symptomatic problems, benign condition management, cosmetics, primary and revision joint therapy (non-infected), bariatric and elective hernia surgery and urogynecology.
Surgical cases such as urgent or emergency surgery, cancer surgery or cancer evaluation, infected joints, or other indications consistent with the department of health guidelines above will continue.
Is The Health Collaborative concerned about shortages of any medical supplies or medications?
As of March 25, we have adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that our region’s Disaster Preparedness Coalition distributes according to need. The Ohio Department of Health has set up a 24/7 COVID-19 hotline for those with questions or concerns as well: 833.427.5634 (1.833.4ASK.ODH).
For the latest information on travel information, alerts and warnings, please visit the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel website.
What if my family member traveled from a country or had a layover in a country with widespread or sustained transmission in the last 14 days?
If your family member traveled from or had a layover in a CDC-designated high-risk country in the last 14 days and feels sick with fever, cough or has difficulty breathing, use our screening tool or call/message your primary care physician.
Your family member should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before they go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about their recent travel and symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Not travel while sick.
- They should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Should I travel internationally?
CDC provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. View the CDC list of destinations with travel notices.
What if I must travel for personal reasons?
If you must travel for person reasons, practice the following precautions:
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
To keep patients and residents in our region safe, visitation restrictions have been updated. If you are planning to make a visit to a hospital, please contact the hospital directly or visit their website for more specific restrictions by location.
Hospitals will consider visitors for the following situations:
- A single individual responsible for transporting a patient coming for a procedure or being discharged from the hospital.
- A single designated partner or primary caretaker for mothers delivering babies.
- End-of-life situations.
For this selective group of permitted patients, the following will occur:
- Patients are limited to one visitor at a time *Except patients under 18
- No visitors under age 14.
- Visitors are not permitted to see patients if they exhibit any respiratory illness symptoms (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, etc.)
- Visitors are not permitted if they have travelled internationally within the past 14 days.
- All visitors should follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions while in the common areas of the facility.
If you are approved for visitation, expect to be screened. Hospitals and providers will consider other exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
UPDATED GUIDANCE FOR COVID-19 TESTING AND ISOLATION RELEASED BY OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
To target testing efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that clinicians should first assess patients for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath) and prioritize testing for those most severely ill and at highest risk for complications.
- Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in order to inform decisions related to infection control.
- Other symptomatic individuals such as, older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor
There are additional epidemiologic factors that may also help guide decisions about COVID-19 testing. Documented COVID-19 infections in a jurisdiction and known community transmission may contribute to an epidemiologic risk assessment to inform testing decisions. Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness (e.g., influenza).
Mildly ill patients should be encouraged to stay home (self-isolate) and contact their healthcare provider by phone for guidance about clinical management. Patients who have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek care immediately. Older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their physician early in the course of even mild illness.
The Ohio Department of Health, in collaboration with community partners, has developed a tier-based testing strategy for individuals with suspected COVID-19:
|Tier 1||Inpatients at hospitals and other healthcare facilities, including long-term care, with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19|
|Tier 2||Healthcare workers at Tier 1 institutions with symptoms and all individuals in public safety occupations|
|Tier 3||Individuals with mild-to-moderate symptoms who are high risk — elderly, and those with serious medical problems|
|Tier 4||Individuals with mild/moderate symptoms and without risk factors for adverse outcomes – testing not currently recommended|
|Tier 5||Asymptomatic individuals – testing not currently recommended|
Criteria for Discontinuation of Isolation Precautions
CDC has released non-test-based criteria for discontinuation of home isolation and criteria for return to work for healthcare personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The non-test-based strategies include:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND,
- At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
Personal Protective Equipment
DONATE: If you have extra PPE that you will not be using (N95 masks, gloves, etc.) click on DONATE. UC Health has set up an email address for donations. Please note that food and nonperishable items may not be accepted in clinical care settings. Due to federal and state healthcare laws, we cannot accept cash or gift cards.
- Ohio Department of Health (ODH) | COVID-19 Updates
- Indiana State Department of Health | COVID-19
- Kentucky Department for Public Health | COVID-19
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | What you should know about COVID-19
- ODH| Disease Prevention – Household Checklist
- CDC| Weekly COVID-19 response newsletter: Click here to subscribe
- CDC| Preparing Communities for Potential Spread of COVID-19
- CDC| Information for Healthcare Professionals
- CDC| Information for Healthcare Facilities
- CDC| Information for Law Enforcement Personnel
- CDC| Information for Travelers, Pregnant Women/Children, Businesses & Schools
- CDC| Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs)
- Current COVID-19 cases | Johns Hopkins CSSE
- Hamilton County officials discuss regional effort around PPE, surge capacity and misconceptions
Our Latest News
- THC and NRHI Partner on National Study of Best Practices in Off-Site COVID-19 Testing
- Greater Cincinnati Area Hospitals Practice Personal Protective Equipment Conservation
- CEO Corner: Leading and Convening Through a Pandemic
- Updated Guidance Released for COVID-19 Testing and Isolation (Available in multiple languages)
- Greater Cincinnati Hospitals Halt Elective Procedures (Available in multiple languages)
- What Should I Do if I’m Sick?
- Greater Cincinnati COVID-19 Assessment Sites (Available in multiple languages)
- Cincinnati-Area YMCAs Focus on Childcare for Healthcare Workers
- Greater Cincinnati Hospitals Update Visitation Restrictions (Available in multiple languages)
- Rumor Control: A Word on COVID-19 from Christa Hyson, MPH, PIO (Available in multiple languages)
WAYS TO HELP DURING THE PANDEMIC
- Purchase a “Strength in Unity” Shirt to benefit the YMCA of Cincinnati Emergency Response Fund
- Reach out with a card, letter, or drawing to patients and residents who can’t receive visitors, and consider a donation to Council on Aging to help put meals on the tables of seniors whose resources have been limited by this pandemic
- Donate blood or platelets at your local Hoxworth location
- Reach out before donating items – agencies are being overwhelmed with items they may not be able to use/accept
Do you think you may have Coronavirus (COVID-19)?*
COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. The Health Collaborative is working with public health partners at all levels and will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.
Take these steps:
- Start with a virtual visit – call your primary care physician or insurance provider and see what your options are. You will be advised what to do next.
- Call ahead before going in person to any physician’s office or clinic location.
- Don’t go to your local emergency department for COVID-19 testing. The emergency department is only for those who need the most critical care.
*If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, a severe headache or other potentially life-threatening problems, go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.
For questions, call the Ohio Department of Health’s 24/7 hotline at 833.427.5634 (833.4.ASK.ODH).
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH GUIDANCE
- To read the Ohio Department of Health Stay at Home Order, click here.
- Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the Stay At Home order.
- Haga clic aquí para ver las Preguntas frecuentes sobre el pedido Quédate en Casa.
- Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). #COVID19OhioReady
- COVID near you: https://www.covidnearyou.org/#!/
OUR LATEST COVID-19 HEADLINES
This assessment will capture and curate best practices and lessons learned for off-site testing.
Local authorities, hospital systems, and The Health Collaborative continue to explore strategies to increase local caches of supplies and equipment.
“I am proud of our team and the leadership of our members and partners for their resiliency and extreme dedication during this unprecedented time,” says Brammer.