|St. Louis Information for Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19|
What is COVID-19?
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 does COVID-19 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
- 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/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/maternal-or-infant-illnesses/covid-19-and-breastfeeding.html
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
Proper Hand washing Techniques
For step-by-step techniques on proper hand washing follow this link: https://cnaclassesnearme.com/how-to-properly-wash-your-hands/
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
The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face mask out in public (e.g. grocery store, pharmacy) and any place social distancing is hard to maintain. Make sure the mask is properly covering your mouth and nose. Social distancing is still highly recommended when possible. Do not use a mask (like a surgical mask or N95 respirator) meant for healthcare 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. The CDC also provides homemade cloth face mask instructions. Follow this link for details: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
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. You should self-quarantine or isolate at home pending the test results and follow the advice of health care providers regarding results and length of quarantine.
There are 2 different tests available for COVID-19
A viral antigen test is done to see if you have a current infection
An antibody test can tell you if you’ve had a past infection
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.
A vaccine from Pfizer has been submitted to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Two other vaccine developers will be submitting their applications in the near future. Distribution of the vaccine will be limited initially.
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? (Update)
There are 10 states with confirmed cases in the US as of 3/2/2020. There have been a total of 440 cases for the City of St. Louis (04/06/20).
As of 3/06/20, 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 and recommendations are changing frequently.
St. Louis City is limiting gatherings of people. See what the current recommendations are below.
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. For this link for the article: 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 are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19. However, a small number of pets have tested positive for the virus and were most likely infected by their owners who were infected with the virus. If you are sick, it is recommended to avoid contact with them while you are sick. This means isolating them in the house and using proper hand hygiene when feeding or cleaning up after them. Most of the pets who have gotten sick have only had mild illness or no symptoms at all and fully recovered.
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 are restrictions to travel to some European countries. 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:
Follow this link for the latest COVID-19 related data and maps for the City of St. Louis: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/covid-19/data/
Free printable material: https://www.websiteplanet.com/blog/free-printable-posters-covid-19/
If you have any other concerns or questions, email or call us and we will do everything we can to help.
Last updated 11/21/20