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The Coronavirus- What is our response? GERALD (JERRY) STARR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: WEST SIDE HEALTH CARE DISTRICT 

The Coronavirus or COVID-19

Every day, sometimes every hour, we are seeing or hearing a CDC or Public Health update, a media statement, a financial impact statement regarding the Coronavirus or COVID-19 “public health emergency” or similar statement. You can even hear the use of the word “PANDEMIC” or worldwide emergency.

The political and news commentaries on the leadership and medical response to the outbreak are not really helpful and seem to be partisan. The discussion of whether or not the impact of the illness or mortality rate is as serious as “the flu was last year” or previous outbreaks such as SARS or MERS, doesn’t help us protect ourselves this year.

Clearly, the question to be asked is:  How should the individual or the family prepare or react to the potential of exposure the Coronavirus? When we listen to, or watch the public health professionals, news anchors, travel advisors, etc., the advice is almost always the same:

·         HAVE YOU HAD YOUR FLU VACCINATION THIS YEAR?

·         LIMIT HAND TOUCHING EXCHANGES/CONTACT SURFACES

·         SNEEZE ETIQUETTE (Google CDC)

·         HAND WASHING: Frequent and vigorous 20-30 seconds with soap and clean water;

·         USE HAND SANITIZER that is alcohol-based;

·         STAY AT HOME IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL;

·         Do not expose yourself to crowds in confined spaces unnecessarily;

·         Don’t travel to, China, Italy, South Korea, etc. or the latest country on the CDC travel advisory.

There are other cautions such as preparing your home food and water supply for a period of isolation or shortages of hand sanitizer, food and water from traditional commercial sources.

We should also accept that this same public health advice is given during the FLU season every year.

Should you not feel well and experience flu-like symptoms or respiratory distress you are encouraged to use the appointment or walk-in services of the West Side Family Health Care Clinic. Our providers and employees have received specific instructions from the CDC, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Kern County Public Health Department (KCPHD regarding the assessment of patients with the signs and symptoms that are suspicious of Coronavirus (COVID-19)). There are specific testing procedures for COVID-19 through the KCPHD to rule out or confirm COVID-19.

 Please use the following link to the CDC website to stay up to date on the Coronavirus worldwide. https://www.cdc.gov/