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NOT FAKE NEWS! The Facts On Flu Vs. COVID-19

NOT FAKE NEWS! The Facts On Flu Vs. COVID-19

JERSEYVILLE - Last week the Jersey County Board was asked during the public comment period to prepare for the COVID-19 virus. Don Little, the county board chair responded with, "Anyone else?" as the speaker left the lectern and nothing regarding the looming worldwide pandemic was discussed. Little did take time to distribute hand sanitizer to some people days later but it appears that as of yet no action has been taken to mobilize county resources to assist in issues that county residents are facing.

Taking no action is making a decision. Members of the public are now faced with what to believe after being told by President Trump that the looming pandemic was a "hoax". Some television personalities opined that it was a conspiracy of the "liberal media" and "fake news". They were quite incorrect. The public was told that plenty of tests were available. That wast not true. The tests are still not available in quantities to needed to test suspected cases in southern Illinois as this is written.

Many people still believe that COVID-19 is no worse than a case of the flu. They may believe that it is a type of flu. It is not. COVID-19, or the coronavirus, is actually a virus that is of a similar type that causes what we generally call a "cold" but the disease it causes is in no way similar to the common cold. Instead, this virus has killed approximately 9% of the people that have been tested and the case is resolved either by death or recovery. This number is derived from the public information viewable online at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center on the day this is written. This number is somewhat skewed by the fact that only the sickest people have been tested and the tests are not widely available. The death rate may decline as more people are tested. Regardless, we are being told to not be social in person. That's extremely good advice given there is no vaccine available or any antiviral drugs that are effective. Until such time that there is some sort of response other than keeping your distance and quarantines, we need to do whatever is needed to stop the incredible spread of this highly contagious virus.

Remember, most everything you touch has the capability to infect you if the virus is on it. Use the ATM? Think about the buttons you pressed and the fact that your card was in the reader. What did you do with the card when you were finished? Think about opening a door to go into a place of business. How many others were there before you? Has it been wiped clean before you touched it? As of yet, no one knows exactly all the ways the virus can travel or if you survive an initial brush with the disease if you can become reinfected at some point. 

With this in mind, below you will find current guidelines regarding protecting yourself. This is deadly serious business and the choices you make can kill you or others. No one is immune. No one.

If you are sick and believe you may be infected with coronavirus, DO NOT GO TO THE HOSPITAL OR YOUR DOCTOR'S OFFICE! Call your local healthcare provider or the county health department where you live and they will guide you as to what to do. If you are ill and present to a hospital or physician office you risk infecting others.

NOT FAKE NEWS! The Facts On Flu Vs. COVID-19

General Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and Disinfection of Households

Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

General Recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfection of Households with People Isolated in Home Care (e.g. Suspected/Confirmed to have COVID-19)
  • Household members should educate themselves about COVID-19 symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in homes.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
    • In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
      • As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, following home care guidance.
      • The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants (examples at this link).
      • If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.
  • Household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.
How to clean and disinfect: Surfaces
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
      • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
        • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
    • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
      Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this link) that are suitable for porous surfaces.
 Clothing, towels, linens and other items that go in the laundry
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.
Hand hygiene and other preventive measures
  • Household members should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Additional key times to clean hands include:
      • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After using the restroom
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • After contact with animals or pets
      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
Other considerations
  • The ill person should eat/be fed in their room if possible. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with hot water or in a dishwasher. Clean hands after handling used food service items.
  • If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, handling, and disposing of trash. Wash hands after handling or disposing of trash.
  • Consider consulting with your local health department about trash disposal guidance if available.
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