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If coronavirus spreads within the US, here's how daily life might change – CNN



Preparing for a pandemic: What should I buy? Are there places I should avoid?
How could the possible spread of coronavirus change our daily lives? Schools, businesses, hospitals and first responders could all be impacted, according to the CDC.
“We expect we will see community spread in this country,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a press briefing Tuesday.
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad.”
The CDC has been referring to guidance on how to deal with flu pandemics, in a document called “Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza United States 2017.” It’s the “blueprint” for community interventions, and the agency is adjusting its recommendations to the specific circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
The document draws from the findings of nearly 200 journal articles written between 1990 and 2016, and it includes a summary of lessons learned from the response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which killed hundreds of thousands globally.
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“The trajectory of what we’re looking at over the weeks and months ahead is very uncertain, but many of the steps that we have taken over the past 15 years to prepare for pandemic influenza and our experience going through the 2009 H1N1 pandemic of influenza remind us of the kinds of steps that our health care system, our businesses, our communities and schools may need to take,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s principal deputy director, said during a press conference at the White House on Wednesday.
“It’s the perfect time for businesses, health care systems, universities and schools to look at their pandemic preparedness plans, dust them off and make sure that they’re ready.”

Some schools and social events could shut down

Widespread transmission of the coronavirus could impact schools, child care centers, colleges and group events, such as concerts, festivals, and sporting events, according to the CDC’s 2017 document.
For instance, the document notes that “social distancing measures” for schools, workplaces and gatherings “can reduce virus transmission by decreasing the frequency and duration of social contact among persons of all ages.”
In schools, that could involve dividing classes into smaller groups of students and rearranging desks so students are spaced at least 3 feet from each other in a classroom, according to the document. That is, if the school remains open.
CDC might recommend the use of coordinated school closures during severe pandemics. More than 100 schools closed in 2009 in response to the H1N1 flu pandemic.
Closing or canceling schools in response to public health concerns are decisions that districts typically have to grapple with and are already experienced in making.
“Even in my own state of Maine, schools have in recent weeks and months had to close for influenza. During the H1N1 crisis many years ago, schools were also closed then,” recalled Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
For the novel coronavirus, “one of the questions that is scientifically out there that will govern or drive how school closures are calculated is to what extent children themselves carry or transmit this virus,” Shah said. “Scientifically we need to have a better understanding of to what extent children are carriers or transmitters of the virus — the point of that is, it’s premature right now based on the science to make uniform claims about what school closures may look like.”
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Messonnier said on Tuesday that she talked to her family and told them, while they are not at risk right now, they should have a plan in case their lives are significantly impacted. She said she even called the children’s school district to find out what would happen if schools needed to close.
“The data over the last week, and the spread in other countries, has certainly raised our level of concern and raised our level of expectation” of community spread, she said.
The CDC still doesn’t know what that will look like, she added. Community spread could be reasonably mild or very severe.

You might be urged to work from home

The CDC has posted guidance on its website to help businesses and employers make decisions on work-from-home policies or flexible sick leave if there is significant spread of the coronavirus across the country.
Such guidance also includes how to respond if an employee gets sick.
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The 2017 document noted that “social distancing measures that reduce face-to-face contact in workplaces might include offering telework and remote meeting options. Flexible sick leave policies should be implemented to encourage workers to stay home if needed.”
Also according to the document, “CDC recommends environmental surface cleaning measures in all settings, including homes, schools, and workplaces, to remove influenza viruses from frequently touched surfaces and objects.”
Yet overall, “what community spread looks like in the United States will vary greatly community by community. It might vary by time, it might vary by place,” Shah said.
“Although we believe, according to the US CDC, that community spread is likely in the United States, the magnitude of that possibility as well as how it actually plays out, that will vary greatly between Washington state, Florida, Maine and any other state,” he said, adding because of that, “there will not be a one-size-fits-all approach here.”

First responders may have to act

With the spread of disease, health care systems could become taxed with high rates of hospitalizations and deaths — and it could impact other critical infrastructure, too, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services and the transportation industry, according to the CDC.
Concerns mount about coronavirus spreading in hospitals, study suggestsConcerns mount about coronavirus spreading in hospitals, study suggests
Many state health departments are already in talks with emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters and other first responders to plan how to handle sick patients while remaining healthy themselves in case the virus spreads through the community. Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against the coronavirus and no medications have been approved, yet, to treat it.
“What this looks like, again, will vary greatly community by community, city by city, state by state,” Shah said.
The CDC has produced more than 23 guidance documents on infection control, hospital preparedness, personal protective equipment supplies and clinical evaluation and management to help first responders and health systems prepare for the possible spread of the disease.
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Those preparations include making sure enough supplies are available for response efforts.
For instance, Shah said his colleagues at the CDC have already taken an inventory of their personal protective equipment — such as gowns, masks and respirators — and have put in an order for additional supplies, as have many other state health departments.
“We are anticipating what potential needs the health care system in Maine, and New England as a whole, may have for those supplies and we’re trying to think as many steps in advance as we can,” he said.

A call to stay informed

While federal, state and local health departments are staying on top of preparation efforts, Shah has several suggestions on how average Americans can get prepared, too.
Facebook, Google and Twitter crack down on fake coronavirus 'cures' and other misinformationFacebook, Google and Twitter crack down on fake coronavirus 'cures' and other misinformation
“I’m recommending a few things. The first is to urge everyone to keep themselves and their families as healthy as possible. Exercise, eat a good diet, get a lot of sleep, wash your hands, do everything you can to stay healthy right now. The other thing we’re recommending is that folks stay informed,” Shah said.
“We really want to urge everyone to avoid dubious sources of information and stick with trusted sources like their state health departments or the US CDC,” he said. “We’re in a situation where fear and misinformation can spread more quickly than this virus.”
Shah also suggests staying up to date on the CDC’s coronavirus travel warnings and alerts. As of Wednesday, the agency recommends travelers avoid all nonessential trips to mainland China and South Korea.
“These are really concrete things that everybody can start doing today, so that if we get into a scenario where the situation becomes more concerning nationwide, everyone is ready, not just health departments,” Shah said.

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Here's what you should know about wearing cloth face masks – CollingwoodToday



Medical officials are still stopping short of recommending the general public wear homemade masks, but they are suggesting a cloth mask could help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said today a homemade cloth mask could help someone who doesn’t know they have the virus keep from spreading it to others.

“People should be aware they’re not of proven value,” said Gardner. “If there is any value in them it’s more from the point of view of avoiding infecting others.”

A cloth mask could keep droplets from your nose and mouth from entering someone else’s airway or landing on and contaminating a surface.

“They have not been shown to prevent respiratory viruses from entering your airway,” said Gardner.

But it shouldn’t replace any of the other preventative measures being recommended by public health organizations in the province and country.

“What’s really important is that people do their physical distancing and their handwashing,” said Gardner.

He also recommends people stay home, think twice about whether or not they need to go out, and if they do, to focus on quick trips for essential items while still maintaining a two-metre separation with any other people.

“The more we do, the better we do this, the less that surge will be,” said Gardner. “April is a very key month for us in this outbreak. This month we’re going to see the extent to which the surge occurs. If we were very successful it will be a limited surge. If we were less successful it will be a bigger surge more likely to overwhelm our healthcare system.”

There are now 98 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region, more than 10 of those at Bradford Valley, a long-term care facility.

Gardner stressed members of the general public should not be wearing medical-grade masks.

“All of those we really need to retain for healthcare workers because of a limited supply,” he said.

Additionally, there are specific fits and protocols that make surgical masks and N95 masks effective PPE. Without following those specifications, a medical-grade mask will not offer effective protection.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 including coughing and sneezing, stay home, indoors, for at least 14 days.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer of health, said today people can use homemade cloth masks to prevent spreading the virus to others. She said there is increasing evidence people can transmit the virus before knowing they are sick, and keeping their mouth and nose covered while in public – in addition to frequent handwashing and physical distancing – could help reduce spread.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted some tips on its website on using cloth face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC says to use a mask that fits snugly, is secured with ties or ear loops, includes multiple layers of fabric, and can be laundered and machine dried without changing shape.

If you are using a cloth mask, put it on before you go out in public, and then don’t touch it or your face again. Once at home, remove the mask without touching your face, and put it in the laundry. Wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect surfaces you touched on the way in.

The CDC also states a cloth face mask is an additional, voluntary public health measure and should only be used with proper handwashing and physical distancing practices.

You can find sewing and no-sew instructions for cloth face masks on the CDC website.

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Homemade face masks can protect others, but not you: health officials – CTV News Winnipeg



The increase in demand for personal protective equipment has led to an increase in demand for homemade face masks.

Monday both the Federal and Provincial Government said there’s a benefit to wearing homemade masks when in public.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer for Canada, said the Special Advisory Committee for COVID-19 concluded wearing a non-surgical mask can help protect those around you, but it doesn’t protect the person wearing it,

“Wearing a non-medical mask in the community does not mean you can back off of the public health measures that we know work to protect you,” said Tam.

She said we can’t “relax” any of our physical distancing efforts, but added people who want to wear masks as an extra precaution can make them out of household items.

”Simple things, not complicated,” said Tam. “If you can get a cotton material like a t-shirt, you cut up, fold it, (and) put elastic bands around it. Those are the kind of facial coverings we’re talking about.”

Some Manitobans have been pulling out the needle and thread to craft homemade face masks.

Grace Webb, the creator of the Facebook page Face Masks for Manitoba, said she got the idea to sew masks and donate them after reading a U.S. article.

She said the idea snowballed and she started the Facebook group so other mask makers could join her.

“From there it became apparent that people wanted to do this but didn’t have material,” said Webb. “So I thought, why don’t we (build) a kit we can send to people with everything they need to make mask.”

Webb said she’s donating the masks to care homes and people in the community.

Each mask comes with instructions on how to clean them properly, along with a reminder to practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer for Manitoba said wearing a non-surgical mask is like coughing into your sleeve.

He said he doesn’t want this information about homemade masks to distract from the most important message.

“If you were staying home before, stay home now,” said Roussin. “Don’t go out now because somebody has said we can use cloth or non medical masks.”

Webb said she’ll continue to sew homemade masks as long as there’s a need.

“I hope it gives them some comfort and a little bit more security,” Said Webb. “I would love to say that we did something to help slow the spread.”

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Erie County offers information on public face masks – Niagara Frontier Publications



Mon, Apr 6th 2020 08:50 pm

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is making the following announcements.

COVID-19 Data Update

As of 5 p.m. Monday, we have received reports of 1,148 total positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Erie County residents. Of that, 30 Erie County residents have died, and 206 people have recovered. There are currently 912 people in isolation.

We reported 1,149 cases during our live video today. Through our contact tracing process, we discovered that one of those cases is outside Erie County. Our total is 1,148.

Online Case Map

The Erie County Online COVID-19 case mapping tool has been updated with a ZIP code layer. Access this map at

Cloth Face Coverings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended cloth face coverings (masks) for individuals when spending time in public spaces, like stores, where keeping a six-foot distance from others is not easy or possible. These coverings should:

  • Fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape

Most people will be able to make these from materials around their home. There are no-sew methods described in detail on the CDC website:

If someone is ill with respiratory symptoms, they should wear a cloth covering over the nose and mouth when around other people or in public spaces. Masks can also help people avoid touching their faces – which is another way to reduce the risk of infection.

An important note from CDC: Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Cloth face coverings are a risk reduction tool and should be used along with frequent hand washing, good respiratory etiquette and cleaning/disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.

Age and Gender Information

The following are tables that reflect the age and gender distribution for cases up to and including April 6.

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