The Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness caused by a novel virus that has been spreading worldwide. Community-acquired cases have now been confirmed in California.
TCRC is committed to working with our provider community to ensure that updated information is shared as it becomes available for the purposes of increasing awareness and preparedness. It is our intent to provide our provider community with updates at least twice per week and more often as the developing situation requires.
Although Community transmission of the Coronavirus has occurred in California, there have been no confirmed cases within Tri-Counties area at this time. The information outlined below is to assist providers taking precautions to prevent the spread of this virus as well as other infectious diseases and should help you prepare for the possible impacts of the Coronavirus.
Reported Coronavirus illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, with some resultant deaths. While information thus far suggests that most Coronavirus illness is mild, data out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.
Reporting an Outbreak:
First, contact your local health department immediately if you have someone with a confirmed case of Coronavirus or suspect an outbreak in your facility. Adult and senior care programs under Community Care Licensing (CCL) are required to report a suspected or confirmed outbreak of Coronavirus to your local CCL Adult and Senior Care Regional Office, and the individuals’ authorized representative(s), as required by Title 22, Sections 80061(b)(1)(H), 81061(b)(1)(G), 82061(a)(1)(F), and 87211(a)(2)). Tri-Counties Regional Center also requests that you forward a Special Incident Report regarding the confirmed or suspected outbreak.
Preparing Your Employees:
Ensure your employees are prepared and are taking all necessary precautions, including:
- Employees with a fever should not work;
- Facility employees who are ill should be excluded from work for at least 24 hours after a flu-related fever is gone and follow federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or local health department guidelines for returning to work;
- Once employees return to work, reinforce the importance of performing frequent hand hygiene;
- Exclude employees, students, and volunteers who are not critical to providing care from working in areas experiencing outbreaks.
Encourage Good Hygiene Practices:
- Support hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as cough etiquette by residents, visitors, and employees;
- Ensure employees clean their hands according to CDC guidelines, including before and after contact with residents, after contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, and after removing personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Make sure tissues are available and any sink is well-stocked with soap and paper towels for hand washing.
- Minimize congregate living activities and outside programming.
- Avoid consuming meals in congregate settings.
- Minimize the number of congregate activities, especially if your county has community-transmission cases.
To deter transmission of this virus to your individuals:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Employees should stay home when they are sick;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
Have a Plan:
- Have a plan in place, and ample supplies, to respond to a Coronavirus outbreak in their area.
- Follow plans for sheltering in place in circumstances where you may need to quarantine.
- Create a staffing contingency plan.
- Here is a good guide from the CDC (Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to use to develop you plan: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html
Steps to Take With Suspected Infection:
- If an individual shows symptoms of Coronavirus, they should be isolated from other individuals.
- Employees who are in contact with the individual should ensure they are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, including a mask.
- As stated previously, if an individual tests positive for Coronavirus, immediately contact your local health department and then report it to TCRC and your licensing agency, if any.
- Individuals affected should remain in isolation, either at your facility or in a healthcare facility, until they are determined by state or local public health authorities in coordination with CDC to be no longer infectious.
TCRC leadership is constantly monitoring information regarding the Coronavirus in all three counties. We will continue to reach out when new information is released that affects TCRC, the people we serve, and our service provider community.
Links to Printable Flyers:
Interim Guidance From the CDC for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to use to develop you plan: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html