Background and Basic Information on COVID-19

Background on the Coronavirus:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness first reported in China in December 2019 that has since been detected and documented as spreading from person to person in a number of other locations around the world. Initially many cases of the associated COVID-19 illness were associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but cases were documented in more than 60 countries by the end of February, with many locations reporting sustained and widespread community transmission. Sustained community transmission means that people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing. Widespread community transmission is similar to sustained transmission but has impacted most of the region or country.

 

About COVID-19

At this time, most people in the United States have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. However, it is important to note that the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high in the United States. Risk of infection is dependent on exposure. Close contacts of people who are infected are at greater risk of exposure, for example, health care workers or close contacts of people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

New Jersey links and information:

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is working with state and federal partners to monitor and respond to COVID-19. While the CDC considers this to be a serious public health concern, the immediate health risk to the general population remains low.

Visit the following websites to stay updated on the latest information, and obtain guidance for EMS clinicians:

NJ Child Care, Sports and Youth Camp Opening Dates & Requirements:

 

Child care centers can reopen June 15. Masks will be recommended for children over 2 years old, except for nap time. For detailed child care facility guidelines, click here.

  • Non-contact organized sports activities can restart on June 22. But they can’t be indoors, and no contact drills are allowed.
  • Youth day camps, including municipal summer recreational programs, can begin on July 6.

Basic Prevention of COVID-19

PREVENTION IS KEY! In order to protect yourself and others against Coronavirus and other respiratory viruses, follow these practices:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (if you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer).
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice good health habits.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.

Information on Social Distancing…

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you practice Social Distancing…

  • No Playdates, no sleepovers, no friends and families visiting.  While this may seem extreme, the incubation period for the Covid-19 is two weeks.  So while we may think we are safe with family and friends, we don’t and can’t possibly know who they have been around.  So keep your distance.
  • Don’t share food. Again, seems basic, but you don’t know where the food has been or if the person preparing it is possible carrying the disease.
  • Reduce your trips to the stores.  Try when possible to make a list, stick to it, and be in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Try to go during off times when the store won’t be as busy. Maybe pass up the coffee shop or the ice cream place or only do the drive-thru option.
  • If you are sick… stay home and isolate yourself.  Call your medical professional and get advice on how best to proceed.

Mask Recommendations:

Recommendations from health officials have now said that anyone leaving the home should wear a mask.  Here are some important things you should keep in mind.

Your cloth face covering should:

✔️ Reach above the nose, below the chin, and completely cover the mouth and nostrils
✔️ Fit snugly against the sides of the face
✔️ Be made of multiple layers of fabric that you can still breathe through
✔️ Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damaging the material or shape

Do not buy surgical masks to use as a face covering. Those are intended for healthcare workers and first responders. Many items you may already have in your home can be used to create face coverings.

Try creating a cloth face covering using bandanas, ski masks, washable napkins, or dish towels.

How to Perform CPR with the PPE…

  • The potential for COVID-19 should be considered during all cardiac arrest responses. Don PPE as appropriate.
  • An N95 (or higher) mask is appropriate for Airborne precautions if COVID-19 is suspected, and it is reasonable to don an N95 mask when responding to any cardiac arrest.

Eye protection (safety glasses and/or faceshield) and protective gown should be used when any aerosol generating procedures are needed; this includes during CPR.
(source – CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-for-ems.html)

  • AED use and defibrillation does notpresent a significant risk of aerosol generation.
    AED application and defibrillation should be prioritized when responding to a cardiac arrest, and it is reasonable to begin AED use while additional PPE is donned.
    (source – ILCOR: https://costr.ilcor.org/document/covid-19-infection-risk-to-rescuers-from-patients-in-cardiac-arrest)
  • Chest compressions and CPR present some risk of aerosol generation, especially when BVM ventilations are provided.
    • When a BVM is used, a Bacterial / Viral filter should be applied to the exhaust port when available (alternatively, the filter can be applied between the BVM and face mask).
      A tight face mask seal should be maintained, using a two-rescuer technique when adequate personnel are present.
    • *NEW* When a BVM with filter is not available, or there are inadequate personnel to maintain a tight seal, it is reasonable to begin chest-compressions-only CPR for an adult cardiac arrest.
      • Pediatric cardiac arrest is typically caused by a respiratory issue, and CPR with BVM ventilations should begin immediately.
      • If chest-compressions-only CPR is used, provide passive oxygenationwith a non-rebreather mask (with 15 LPM O2) and place a surgical mask over the NRB.
    • ALS clinicians are guided to place an advanced airway early in the arrest, to reduce the need for BVM ventilations.
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