CDC recommends masks for all where social distancing difficult
Lowe’s customers wear gloves and masks as they shop April 3 during the coronavirus pandemic in New York. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that people wear medical masks, or some sort of face covering if no mask is available, when going into public. MARK LENNIHAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
TAHLEQUAH – With increased incidences of the novel coronavirus over a two-week period in late March and early April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has included a further recommendation to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.
It is now recommending that all people wear medical masks, or some sort of face covering if no mask is available, when going into public where social distancing is difficult to maintain – grocery stores, pharmacies, drive through windows at restaurants, and anywhere customers must interact with employees.
Though evidence is lacking that masks keep people from contracting the novel coronavirus, they do appear to impede passage of the virus by infected persons. The coronavirus can be transmitted for up to two weeks before a person shows symptoms, and some people contract and dispel the virus asymptomatically.
The CDC says all masks should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, secured with ties or ear loops, use multiple layers of fabric, allow unrestricted breathing, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or changing the shape.
There are also instructions for making and maintaining homemade masks at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
In the Cherokee Nation, those with questions can call W.W. Hastings Hospital, CN health clinics and respective county health departments. For information and incidence data, the CN website maintains a COVID-19 page at health.cherokee.org/corona-virus-covid-19.
CN Health Services is tracking the incidence of COVID-19 at health care facilities, and the Nation recently announced the death of an employee due to the disease.
Hoskin said the CN would follow the recommendations of CDC, Indian Health Service and CN Health Services officials to inhibit the virus’ spread.
At coronavirus.health.ok.gov, the Oklahoma State Department of Health maintains a COVID-19 page with links.
The OSDH recommends calling a doctor or the 24-hour OSDH Call Center (1-877-215-8336 or 2-1-1) if symptoms worsen. Emergency symptoms are difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face.
Otherwise, the department asks those suspecting coronavirus infection to treat themselves at home to conserve the availability of resources to those at highest risk – including the elderly, pregnant women and the immunocompromised. Underlying medical conditions such as lung disease, heart disease and diabetes create a higher risk of serious complications.
The OSDH said positive tests will initiate an investigation by public health officials, which includes notifying the patient and provider to conduct the investigation along with contact tracing.
Statewide COVID-19 incidence is also reported. As of morning April 9, Oklahoma had 1,524 confirmed cases – up from 164 on March 25 – and 79 deaths, up from five deaths on March 25. Cases in CN counties included 25 in Adair, 16 in Cherokee, five in Craig, 13 in Delaware, one in McIntosh, 21 in Muskogee counties, 10 in Nowata, 15 in Ottawa, 19 in Rogers, 10 in Sequoyah, 293 in Tulsa County, 57 in Wagoner and 45 in Washington.
Coronavirus links are on the front page of cdc.gov. One link leads to recommendations for home treatment of COVID-19.
Part of home care is trying not to infect other family members. The CDC page recommends keeping an ill person in one room as much as possible; using a separate bathroom if available; and not sharing dishes, towels or bedding. Those who are sick should wear masks if able and caretakers should wear masks.
The CDC also recommends washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, particularly after interacting with the ill person. Hand sanitizers of 60% alcohol can be used. Caretakers should avoid touching the face, clean all surfaces that are frequently touched such as tabletops and doorknobs, and thoroughly wash laundry. Visitors should be discouraged.
Most people can treat symptoms with over-the-counter cold and flu medications. Symptoms usually subside in a week or less.
The CDC says home quarantine without testing can end when an infected person has not had a fever for 72 hours without aid of a medication, other symptoms have improved, and at least a week as passed since symptoms first manifested.
Those who will be tested can end quarantine when they no longer have a fever without the aid of medicine, other symptoms have improved, and they have received two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.