SARS-CoV-2, previously referred to as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a virus that can be spread from person to person. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the virus COVID-19. It was first detected in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread throughout China and the rest of the world.
Yes! Augusta Health has been working with state, regional, and local healthcare coalition partners to care for patients suspected or known to have the coronavirus. This collaboration with those partners to communicate, coordinate, monitor the current state, and share resources and best practices.
Augusta Health has a response plan in place to care for patients suspected to have the coronavirus. This plan includes a number of procedures for: assessment of patients arriving at the emergency department or ambulatory locations, patient isolation, team member safety and health, investigation and testing, and the cleaning and disinfecting of the physical environment. With the combination of healthcare coalition partnerships and an up-to-date response plan Augusta Health is ready to care for suspected coronavirus patients while protecting our team members and the community.
Currently, the average flu mortality rate for the past several years is 0.1%, compared to Coronavirus (COVID-19) which is currently rated at 2.9%1 worldwide and 1.8% in the US1. Patients with the highest risk of complications related to COVID-19 are similar to those patients that are at a higher risk for influenza complications. This higher risk population includes the elderly, as well as patients with weakened immune systems. For patients with COVID-19, the main treatment is "supportive care." Patients may need to be supported with supplemental oxygen or whatever means necessary to be stabilized during their illness. In addition, appropriate treatments for the symptoms such as fever would be administered.
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19. However, flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources2.
In light of data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, the CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in public, including during travel. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19 because they help keep people who are infected from spreading respiratory droplets to others when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Medical masks and N-95 respirators are for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other everyday preventive actions.
Additionally mask wearing is now mandated by Governor Northam in Virginia. For the most updated information on the Governor's mandates, click here.
The Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers by the CDC specifically speaks to workplaces and contains lots of valuable information. The big take-aways are:
- Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
- Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Separate sick employees until employee can be sent home
- Conduct daily health checks
- Conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace
- Implement policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace
- Improve the building ventilation system
Yes we do. We have currently converted the Waynesboro Urgent Care Center into the COVID-19 Assessment Center at Waynesboro Urgent Care. This location is to evaluate, treat, and educate patients who are currently experiencing the signs and symptoms associated with respiratory disease and COVID-19: fever, shortness of breath, and cough. All patients seeking evaluation and treatment for respiratory symptoms should go to this location only. For more information see our testing information page.
It is impossible to predict if a specific individual will get COVID-19 and when or where that will happen. The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:
- No risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
- Low risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
- Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
- Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.
For more resources please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.
When to Seek Care
Call for Advice
If you are sick and think you have been exposed, call the Augusta Health COVID Care Call Center:
Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Seek Medical Care
If you are sick and think you have an emergency, call 911.
Warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Protect yourself & others
TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, EVERYONE SHOULD:
- Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
- CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.