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Position Statement: Emerging Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Disease

01 February 2020 2:54 PM | Anonymous
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) initially reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019, is a novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On January 30, 2020, WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency. On February 26, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 not associated with travel from China traveler, was reported in California. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), community spread of the virus has now been reported in the United States, with 566 cases identified as of March 9, 2020 in 32 states, with twenty-two deaths related to COVID-19 and the situation continues to evolve.  
Current risk assessment by the CDC:
  • For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to below. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with an increase in risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • CDC has established geographic risk-stratification criteria for the purpose of issuing travel health notices for countries with COVID-19 transmission and guiding public health management decisions for people with potential travel-related exposures to COVID-19.
A number of factors inform the geographic risk stratification including size, geographic distribution, and epidemiology of the outbreak. Travelers returning from China, Iran, Japan and Hongkong (affected international locations) where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with an increase in risk dependent on the location.
PNAA Position
It is the position of Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) that: 
  1. The decision to put Safety First to protect patients, caregivers, family members, and the community, locally and globally, from this virus is of utmost importance. 
  2. We advocate for every human life especially the vulnerable, the elderly, the young, the sick and those with little or no access to healthcare.
  3. Healthcare workers, patients, significant others and the community are adequately educated with evidence-based information about COVID-19 and in basic infection prevention measures to stop the spread such as everyday preventive actions. We encourage communities to frequently wash hands, cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue, clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces regularly, and to stay home when sick.
  4. As one of the frontline caregivers and first responders that we are effectively trained, perform protocols and do rapid communication with other caregivers to protect them from exposure as they manage and respond to this outbreak.
  5. We will observe, promote, maintain personal health optimum and strengthen our immune system by eating right, get enough rest/sleep and exercise.
  6. Care settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics and the like have adequate personal protective equipment.
  7. Support the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and the American Nurses Association.
  8. Comply with external agencies' recommendations as it relates to large meetings and gatherings to cancel these gatherings and consider using conference calls and video streaming.
  9. All PNAA international business travels along with domestic travel to large conferences or gatherings be suspended.
PNAA recognizes the tremendous ongoing efforts of our nation’s healthcare providers and local and state public health officials as they respond to the growing threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We appreciate our members who are working on the frontline and are prepared to address this outbreak. Our local chapters are committed in working closely with public health and hospitals in raising awareness and education about COVID-19 in our community.
Preparedness is key. PNAA supports ongoing efforts to address and prevent the community spread of COVID-19 along with the rapid development and identification of solutions to protect nurses, healthcare teams, and the public. As the situation continues to rapidly evolve, PNAA will continue to closely monitor the outbreak.
Recommendations for the General Public:  
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid touching your eye, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Stay home when you are sick.
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, rather than into your hands.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  7. Stay healthy, eat right, have enough rest/sleep/exercise, take your vitamins.
  8. Avoid large gatherings, unnecessary travel, meetings and cruises especially for the elderly population.
  9. If having respiratory symptoms, stay home, self-quarantine, ensure enough food, household supplies, medicines you are taking for about 2 weeks. Wear a mask if having respiratory symptoms to protect others.
  10. Seek prompt medical attention if respiratory symptoms are worsening such as fever, difficulty breathing and cough.  Inform the clinic staff ahead of time of your symptoms and put on a facemask before you enter a medical facility/or doctor’s office. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.

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