April 2, 2020
We are clearly in a new and more aggressive phase locally of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reported cases and deaths are increasing related to both new infections as well as increased but still inadequate testing. We are both not testing enough due to inadequate supplies and a delay in obtaining test results due to slower than expected test processing. Tests remain primarily for those that are ill for whom the test result will assist in informing therapeutic decisions. LA has recently launched a website initially for just the city, but which has now been expanded to LA County for testing guidance for no hospitalized individuals. https://lacovidprod.service-now.com/rrs
Hospitals are seeing increased admissions to both emergency rooms and ICUs for COVID-19 and nonCOVID19 illnesses. We have not yet reached capacity like New York City.
Some topics that are worth discussing or reinforcing at this time include:
Stay at Home means STAY AT HOME whenever possible and do not take leaving home casually. We are now assuming that everyone is infected. Our behavior needs to reflect this concept. Is everyone really infected? No. How do we know who is infected? We do not and will not without adequate testing capabilities. Does everyone who is infected have symptoms? you know temperature, cough, fatigue, aches and pains, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea or abdominal pain? No. There are a lot of people who are without symptoms who are infected with COVID-19 but since we are only able to test symptomatic individuals or high risk exposed individuals this asymptomatic group is unknown to us. Thus, the only thing that makes sense is to act like we are all infected and do not want to transmit the virus to someone else.
So how do we protect ourselves and others?
- STAY AT HOME
Keep your home as safe as possible. Do not go into other’s homes or bring others into yours if at all possible. That way you can let your guard down at home and not inadvertently infect those that you live with. This is doubly important if those at home are at risk individuals-see my prior updates for the list. I have also already commented on in home Behavior and social distancing at home in prior bulletins.
What about out of the home and the topic of wearing masks or facial covering while in public i.e. grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations-you know wherever you encounter people who are not residing in your home.? It appears that COVID-19 not only can be transmitted by cough or sneeze but also by breathing, talking and singing. Thus, today’s suggestion by the mayor of LA to use facial covering when outside of the house. There is also emerging data to support the mayor’s recommendation. This is likely to be a universal recommendation in the US soon. DO NOT corner the market on surgical or N95 masks as these are still in short supply and there still are marginal to inadequate supplies for healthcare workers facing a surge whose mask you do not want to take for yourself because if the healthcare workers get sick then they/we will not be available to take care of you when you need them/us the most. Go to cdc.gov and look up alternatives or sew your own until the supply limitations are eased. DO NOT go into your doctor’s office, the hospital or ER and help yourself to some PPEs (Personal Protective
Equipment) for home use. How do I know this has/is happening? I am a healthcare worker who works in my office and the hospital and have friends who work in the ER. We talk to one another.