St. Louis Information for Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19

What is it?

COVID-19 is a “novel” coronavirus infection meaning that it has not been identified in humans before. COVID-19 is thought to have originated from animals and spread to humans which is a very rare occurrence.

How it is spread:

Respiratory droplets are the main concern when spreading the virus. The droplets can directly make contact with another person or and on surfaces which are touched by others who then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth without washing their hands.

Who is at risk?

No particular gender, race, or ethnicity is at a higher risk of contracting the disease

Prevention:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing and before preparing food or eating
  • If soap and water are not available then use alcohol based sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, remotes, etc. with common household cleaner

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited evidence regarding risk factors. Everyone should take precaution, however based on current evidences the populations at a higher risk are older adults (e.g. 65 years or older) and those with underlying medical conditions. Examples of some high-risk conditions are listed below.

-Immunocompromised (e.g. organ transplantation, lupus, cancer, poorly controlled HIV/AIDS)

-Chronic lung disease (e.g. COPD, asthma)

-Severe heart conditions

Pregnancy during COVID-19

There is limited data to determine if pregnant women are at a greater risk. Pregnant women should take the same precautions as the general public (e.g. social distancing, washing hands). During pregnancy the body goes through many changes, one becoming more susceptible to infections. More guidance on other concerns such as breastfeeding: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.htm

Up to date information:

The CDC will be updating their COVID-19 Cases in the U.S. section Monday-Friday at noon. For the most recent updates: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Hand Sanitizer:

We are working with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy to be able to make and sell hand sanitizer.  Once we have permission, more information will be available.

The CDC also provides recommendations for household cleaning and disinfection. Follow this link for details: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Fhome%2Fcleaning-disinfection.html

Facemasks:

Masks are not recommended for healthy individuals. The CDC only recommends masks for health care professionals coming into contact with patients who may have the virus as well as patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are showing symptoms.

Testing:

The CDC recommends testing if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms or fever AND have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have traveled to an area where the spread of COVID-19 is occurring.

Stocking up on medications:

Call and ask for the pharmacist if you are worried about your medication. We will do our best to work with your insurance and doctor to make sure you don't run out of medications.

As of 03/18/20: MO HealthNet’s early refill policy has reduced from 85% to 50%, so 30-day supplies can be refilled no sooner than 15 days and 31-day supplies no sooner than 16 days (effective 03/13/20)

What are the insurance companies doing to help with medications?

We have received information from several insurance companies allowing us to refill medications early for those in a disaster area.  Since a national state of disaster was declared, we expect it to apply to everyone but will not know until we process the claim.  We have not received notification from all of the companies but we do expect to soon.  This may or may not allow a 90 day fill.  We will only know details once we try to process the claim.

What can I take to prevent getting the virus?

As of now, there is no medication that will prevent you from contracting the virus. Following the steps in the “prevention” section is the best method for avoiding the virus.

What is being done to treat COVID-19?

Symptoms are being treated but there is currently no treatment for the virus. They have grown and distributed the virus to researchers to learn more about it. Things such as how long it can live on surfaces, what temperatures it can live at, etc. are being examined. Ongoing research is being done with existing and experimental antiviral medication to look for medications that can treat or prevent the virus. They are also looking at how the virus is spread, where it can survive in the body, and how much it can multiply.

Has COVID-19 been found in the US?

There are 10 states with confirmed cases in the US as of 3/2/2020. There have not been any cases confirmed in Missouri; however, there have been in Illinois.

As of 3/13/20, there have been one confirmed CDC cases, and 3 presumed positive in Missouri.  The link below has the most recent updates for Missouri. https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/

St. Louis County is limiting gatherings of people to under 250 people.

https://www.stlouisco.com/Your-Government/County-Executive/COVID-19

St. Louis City is limiting gatherings of people to under 1000 people.

https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/health/communicable-disease/covid-19/index.cfm

Why are we limiting gatherings and travel?

By limiting large gatherings, we can slow down how fast Covid-19 is spreading.  This will allow healthcare workers the resources to treat those who are sick from not only Covid-19 but other illnesses as well.  An example of this impact was seen with the Spanish Flu of 1918.  St. Louis limited gatherings to 20 people while Philadelphia held a parade of more than 200,000 people.  The death rate in Philadelphia was much higher than St. Louis since the resources were not available. Below is an article talking about this

https://www.pnas.org/content/104/18/7582

Can I get the virus from my pet?

There is no evidence showing that animals such as cats or dogs can spread COVID-19.

Should I avoid packages shipped from places that have confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses?

There is not currently any evidence showing that COVID-19 spread occurs through imported goods.  There are limited studies showing the virus can live on different surfaces for a few days.

Is it safe to travel?

Currently there is restrictions to travel to some European countires.  Follow this link to view the CDC risk assessment by country: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Follow these links for more information regarding COVID-19:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

If you have any other concerns or questions, email or call us and we will do everything we can to help.

Last updated 3/30/20

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