Daily COVID-19 Briefing March 23, 2020

United Church of Christ – Wider Church Ministries
Humanitarian Development Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Daily Briefing
Barbara T. Baylor, MPH – Temporary Health Liaison

March 23, 2020 – Issue #2

Updated COVID-19 Cases in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues monitor and respond to a pandemic of respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The disease named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) poses a serious public health risk. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this situation. Different parts of the country are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity. All 50 states have now reported cases of COVID-19 to CDC which include: imported cases in travelers, cases among close contacts of a known case and community-acquired cases where the source of the infection is unknown.

According to CDC, as of Monday morning, the total cases of COVID-19 is 33,404 and 400 deaths. Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)

Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html 


Currently, the total number of public health laboratories that have completed verification and are offering testing is 91. State and local public health departments are now testing and publicly reporting their cases. This includes one or more Public Health Laboratory (PHL)Testing in 50 states plus DC, Guam and Puerto Rico. View Testing Map here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/testing-in-us.html

While testing is being offered in all 50 states, there are shortages and limitations in laboratory supplies. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) issued the following policy recommendations on March 20, 2020 regarding testing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Read full statement here: http://www.aphlblog.org/media-statement-novel-coronavirus-public-health-emergency-declaration-aphl-executive-director-scott-becker/

“Due to the widescale shortages of laboratory supplies and reagents, we strongly urge public health and healthcare professionals to prioritize COVID-19 testing among three specific groups: 1. Healthcare workers and first responders with COVID-19 symptoms. 2. Older Americans who have symptoms of COVID-19, especially those living in congregate settings. 3. Individuals who may have other illnesses that would be treated differently if they were infected with COVID-19 and therefore physician judgement is especially important for this population. Testing for individuals outside these three groups is not recommended until enough testing supplies and capacity become more widely available. Healthy individuals who are not able to get tested should practice social-distancing and follow the recommendations of their local and state public health authorities. Individuals with mild illness should stay at home, practice self-isolation, monitor their health and manage their symptoms using self-care, and contact their health care provider if their symptoms get worse”.

References: ASTHO(Association of State and Territorial Health Officials – contact preparedness@astho.org, or visit https://www.astho.org/COVID-19/. Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) – www.aphl.org/COVID-19. Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) – https://preparedness.cste.org/

Contact your state health department regarding questions about testing. Click here to view information on Testing for COVID-19 and the Coronavirus Self Checker: A guide to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

Children and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Tips to keep children healthy while school’s out

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children. Steps to protect children from getting sick You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/children.html

Severe Blood Shortage Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. In the U. S. every two seconds someone needs blood or platelets. While donor blood is not being used to treat coronavirus patients, transfusions are still needed for cases such as trauma, organ transplants or complications of childbirth. U. S. Surgeon General James Adams is urging healthy Americans to give blood. He says blood donations are “safe”, and that collection centers are taking extra precautions based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including placing donation beds 6 feet apart, and encouraging donors to schedule their appointments ahead of time. www.redcrossblood.org. In addition, the American Association of Blood Banks Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism has issued a recent statement that individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion. Click here to read AABB statement: http://www.aabb.org/advocacy/regulatorygovernment/Pages/Statement-on-Coronavirus-and-Blood-Donation.aspx Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Statement: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Blood Donations https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-blood-donations

COVID-19 Daily Briefing Archive

Categories: Column Daily COVID-19 briefing from UCC - facts, not fear

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