College nurse shares health tips for avoiding virus, signs to look for regarding COVID-19

Editors Note: ‘Covid on Campus’ is a four-part series. This is the second part on the Coronavirus and its impact on the College.

Taking the correct measures for protecting ourselves and those around us from exposure to the Novel Coronavirus depends on any potential interaction with people with suspected or confirmed cases and the possible contamination of any environment. 

The virus became a global pandemic as on March 11. Health officials say it originated from a market in Wuhan, China that sold live and dead wild animals.

The viral disease has swept into at least 114 countries and according to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States there are 1. 9 million confirmed cases and 110,000 have died so far from COVID-19. 

Currently, America’s medical providers are trying to deliver the best care possible and are the most trusted sources for health information for their patients and for the community. 

DeEtte Edens, associate director of Health and Wellness on the Levelland campus of South Plains College asks all students, faculty, and stuaff to obey the Stay at Home directives from local governments. It is important to observe social distancing, practice good hand washing, and to only go out in the community for essential purposes.

She warns to look out for specific symptoms of COVID-19, including:  Fever, cough and shortness of breath. It is important to seek medical attention when there is persistent pain or pressure in the chest, trouble breathing, new confusion or inability to arouse, as well as bluish lips or face, Edens adds. 

“The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” Edens explains. “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”

Edens says that not everyone needs to be tested for the virus, and that most individuals will have mild illness and are able to recover at home. She advises that if someone suspects they could be positive for COVID-19, then it is advised to call their family physician, or they can try their local COVID-19 testing location.

Through research, scientists have found that mortality for COVID-19 appears to be higher than for influenza, especially seasonal influenza. While the true mortality of COVID-19 will take some time to understand. According to the World Health Organization, they have found indications that the crude mortality ratio, the number of reported deaths divided by the reported cases, is between 3 to 4 percent. The infection mortality rate, the number of reported deaths divided by the number of infections, will be lower. For seasonal influenza, mortality is usually below .1 percent. However, mortality is to a large extent determined by access to and quality of health care. 

If a student, faculty, or staff member has symptoms of the virus, it is advised to be quarantined or isolated at home for 14 days, and to not discontinue home isolation until all symptoms are improved after the 14 days. 

If symptoms continue and someone tests positive for COVID, follow the directions of the local health officials.

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