At this time, no vaccine protects against COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and no medications are FDA-approved to treat it. Supportive care is the most important response strategy. In addition to following best-practice supportive treatments, Intermountain Healthcare is making available investigative treatments and clinical trials to learn the effectiveness of particular protocols and medications. The only way to truly know whether a drug is effective for a particular illness or disease and safe for broad use, is through the controlled setting of clinical trials.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common throughout the world that can cause respiratory illness in people and animals. Several known coronaviruses that infect people usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is a specific coronavirus new to humans and we don’t yet have a vaccine.
How does COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) spread?
At this time, there are two ways COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is thought to spread:
- Person-to-person: Between people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), for significant periods of time, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Contact with infected surfaces or objects: A person can conceivably get COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
What’s the current risk assessment for the American public?
The CDC has developed these guidelines to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposure COVID-19 (novel coronavirus):
- For the general American public in areas where there are no reports of community spread, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is considered low.
- People in communities where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) has been reported are at an elevated, though still relatively low, risk of exposure.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) are at elevated risk of exposure if they’re not wearing correct personal protective equipment.
- People in close contact with persons with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) are at elevated risk of exposure.
Most COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) infections are mild. Who is at higher risk of becoming very ill or dying?
People with underlying lung disease (asthma, chronic lung disease), weakened immune systems, and the elderly are at risk of having more complex complications if they were to contract COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
How often are we testing for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
We’re testing individuals when they meet the CDC case definition for a Person Under Investigation. Once a positive result is found, the individual will be tested again and will need two negative results in a row to be considered cleared. Those tests will be done at an interval determined by the course of the individual’s signs and symptoms.
What is the incubation period?
The incubation period for the virus is one to 14 days, with the most common timeframe being five days. This is still a new disease and this timeframe could change as more information becomes available.
How do you know if someone is cleared of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
When a symptomatic person tests positive, to feel they are cleared of COVID-19 infection this person should have:
- No fever for at least 72 hours without antipyretic medications (no medications that lower temperature or treat fever)
- Improved respiratory symptoms
- At least 7 days to have passed since symptom onset (body aches, HA, GI symptoms, loss of taste or smell)
If he/she wants to return to a work setting, and still has a cough after this time, he/she should wear a mask while at work.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they’re most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before someone shows symptoms. There have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but it’s not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Does Utah’s air pollution increase the risk of the virus spreading?
Whether or not the environment increases risk is unknown. However, individuals who have underlying lung conditions like asthma or chronic lung disease that are affected by environmental factors could be at risk of having a more complicated illness course if they’re infected with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
I’m supposed to have a procedure done at an Intermountain facility. What are the risks of contracting COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
Safety is our priority at Intermountain Healthcare. Our facilities and staff are prepared to continue safe, routine care during public health issues. It’s important that you continue to access care for your health needs as you normally would. If you have a procedure, appointment, or test scheduled and you are healthy, there is no reason to cancel these appointments.
I’ve seen a lot of rumors on social media about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). How do I know what information is accurate?
Social media may contain false information. It’s important to rely on reputable health organizations or mainstream media outlets, and to not share or repost information unless you’re able to confirm it’s true. The best information available comes through the CDC or the Utah Department of Health.
Is Intermountain prepared for a potential pandemic?
Intermountain is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to update caregivers and our communities as new information is made available by the CDC and Utah Department of Health. Intermountain is prepared to respond in case of a pandemic and stands ready to assist caregivers and the community through a larger potential spread of the illness.
How do I use Intermountain Connect Care?
You can use Intermountain Connect Care at intermountainconnectcare.org, with the mobile app, or by calling 801-442-2610. All Connect Care providers are trained in screening specifically for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
Are there medication shortages?
Intermountain Healthcare’s Drug Shortage Team monitors drug shortages on a daily basis. We have a Drug Shortage Team to decrease any impact of shortages to our patients.
There is concern in the public that the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, could cause or worsen drug shortages. Because a large amount of the raw ingredients used to make drugs are obtained from foreign sources impacted by COVID-19, there is potential impact to drug supplies in the United States.
For these reasons our shortage team is proactively working with the companies from whom we obtain medications to make sure we know which drugs might be impacted. We have back-up plans in place—such as alternative medications—if we do see a decrease of drug availability as a result of COVID-19. The medications we are currently watching are in good supply at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also closely following the supply of drugs and has identified only 20, non-critical drugs that have active ingredients solely sourced from China. The FDA is in contact with those manufacturers and 180 others to remind them of legal reporting requirements for shortages in drugs or their active ingredients.
We are also aware that patients have concerns about filling prescriptions should they find themselves in a quarantine situation. Intermountain’s Home Delivery Pharmacy is capable of increasing its processing of prescriptions in such a situation.Source: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-supply-chain-update