COVID-19 Background

The Untied States Department of Labor reports that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chinese authorities identified an outbreak caused by a novel—or new—coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The virus can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The outbreak began in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and has spread to a growing number of countries worldwide—including the United States. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

SARS-CoV-2 is different from six other, previously identified human coronaviruses, including those that have caused previous outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Additional information on coronaviruses is available on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus website.

Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the cold or flu, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Be vigilant as severe cases may lead to pneumonia, kidney failure or death.

Mild symptoms may include:

  • Fever, Chills or Sweating
  • Cough (dry)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fatigue
  • Body Aches & Pains
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Loss of Smell and/or Taste
  • Purple/Blue Lesions on Toes/Feet
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches

High Risk

Those at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 include seniors, and people who have serious pre-existing medical conditions including but not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lung Disease
  • Asthma

People at higher risk for serious illness and even death from COVID-19 should take extra precautions like:

  • Avoiding Crowds
  • Practicing Social Distancing
  • Washing Hands Often
  • Staying Away from Sick People
  • If COVID-19 is nearby, STAY HOME

High risk people should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.

Prevention

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.

The WHO and CDC advises the following prevention methods:

Wash hands frequently and properly
Scrub hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for visibly dirty hands or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently for non-visibly dirty hands.

Practice Respiratory Hygiene 
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Maintain Social Distancing 
Maintain a distance (WHO: 3 feet, CDC: 6 feet) between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.

Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose and Mouth 
Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

Clean and Disinfect
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas such as: tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks.

Wear Face Coverings When in Public Settings
The CDC recommends wearing homemade cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain and areas of significant community-based transmission. This does NOT include surgical masks and other critical supplies which should be reserved for healthcare professionals.

Avoid Travel and Large Gatherings 
Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits. Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible. Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts – use drive-thru, curbside pickup or delivery options.

High Risk Proximity
Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

Mild Symptoms
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel to hard-hit areas, still seek medical care and be sure to carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered.

Seek Medical Care Early
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and tell your healthcare provider if you have traveled to an area where the virus has been severely impacted, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has respiratory symptoms.

Testing and Vaccinations

Testing
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. They will decide whether you need to be tested. People at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.

Vaccinations 
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. After you’ve been fully vaccinated, you can start to do some things that you had to stop doing because of the pandemic. Everyone 12 years of age and older is now recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. Read CDC’s statement.

In the five months since COVID-19 vaccines became available, more than 4 million Michigan residents have been vaccinated and more than half of Michiganders 16 years of age and older, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of public health officials.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to adolescents 12 through 15 years old, opening the U.S. vaccination campaign to millions more people. A meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Wednesday, May 12th, reviewed data and recommended the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines in adolescents 12-15 years under the EUA.

Many have been eagerly awaiting the chance to vaccinate their children since Pfizer announced results from its trial in adolescents showing the vaccine is at least as effective in that age group as it is in adults. Vaccinating children is key to raising the level of immunity in the population and limiting the spread of COVID-19.

CDC and MDHHS release resources for adolescents, parents, guardians, and clinicians on the COVID-19 vaccine
Your questions matter regarding COVID-19 vaccination. It is important to make an informed decision and feel confident about getting yourself a your family vaccinated against COVID-19. Below are list of resources providing information about vaccinating minors and tips to answer your questions.

Resources

PABC does not recommend anyone feed into the negativity or conspiracy theories that we all read online. We also recommend that negative social media and news outlets are limited to maintain a stable overall mental health regarding COVID-19. The only resources that we recommend following for up-to-date information on safety and prevention methods are  The Michigan Health Department, WHO and CDC.

For the most up-to-date information on possible vaccines, treatments, FAQs, news and more, please visit the following official health organizations:

For the most up-to-date information on how to keep yourself and others safe in the workplace, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor.