I don’t know about you, but this COVID 19 coronavirus has me concerned. My 85-year-old father with PD and a long history of coronary artery disease, including a quadruple bypass in 1990, is definitely a “high risk person.” But how much is enough without overdoing things? I don’t want to be that crazy looking lady caught on the 6 p.m. news running through Costco stockpiling toilet paper and hand sanitizer and ordering N95 masks for 1000% their normal cost through Amazon. But guess what, I’ve bought all of the above. Because who knows how this virus will play out in the long run. And he’s my only Dad. Plus, I don’t really want this new-fangled flu myself. I actually had a peripheral health care worker look incredulous at me today when I refused to shake her out-reached hand. I thought, seriously chickee, don’t you know what is going on right now? And how safe is Mayo Clinic, Rock Steady Boxing, our PD support group? Is it time to self-isolate? What answers are out there now?
As of 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday March 11, there are no reported cases of COVID 19 in Duval County. Remember, this does not mean there are no suspected cases, it merely means none have been confirmed. There is a reported case in Nassau Co. The 3/10/20 update from the Florida Department of Health lists 21 total reported cases where the coronavirus has been confirmed in Florida. They are recommending anyone with symptoms who has recently traveled through Port Everglades or is an employee of Metro Cruise Services at Port Everglades self-isolate at home for 14 days and report symptoms to their County Health Department.
The CDC website has up-to-date advice on protecting yourself and your community. They define “high-risk” individuals as older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. [This is not an exhaustive list but, Parkinson’s-by itself-is not listed.] The CDC recommends that those in this demographic stock up on supplies such as medications, tissues, over-the counter medicines to treat fever and flu symptoms, groceries, etc. Avoid close contact with others who are sick. Wash hands often-at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands immediately when in contact with someone who is sick, coughs or sneezes. Avoid touching surfaces in public-cover with a tissue or your sleeve if you must touch something. Avoid touching your face. Disinfect highly used areas of your home. Avoid crowds. Avoid all non-essential travel. Have a plan in case someone in your family gets sick. Be vigilant in watching for symptoms Especially:
1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
2. Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
3. New confusion or inability to arouse
4. Blue-ish lips or face
If you think you have the coronavirus the CDC recommends that you stay home and call your doctor. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/community/index.html)
The CDC has also listed “Family and Caregiver Support” information such as:
1. Know what medications your loved one is taking, contact physician or pharmacy to see if you can obtain extras.
2. Monitor food and medical supply levels.
3. Stock up on non-perishable food. (I’m always a bit puzzled by this one since I don’t think we are expecting a power outage of any kind.)
As reported by the New York Times, the World Health Organization just this afternoon declared the COVID 19 outbreak a pandemic.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of the W.H.O., said at a news conference in Geneva.
“We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough,” he added. “All countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”
But now there is evidence on six continents of sustained transmission of the virus, which has infected more than 120,000 people and killed more than 4,300, and by most scientific measures the spread qualifies as a pandemic. The designation itself is largely symbolic, but public health officials know that the public will hear in the word elements of danger and risk.
You can find additional information and remain up-to-date at the World Health Organization website:
Stay safe! Annette