Cornerstone VNA is closely monitoring instances of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. We are keeping updated and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Medicare and State Infectious Disease Specialists. Please find the latest news and information below.
Both the State of Maine and the State of New Hampshire have activated the 2-1-1 hotline specific to COVID-19. All residents with questions or concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak can call 2-1-1.
What is 2019 novel coronavirus?
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified at the end of 2019 during an investigation into an outbreak of respiratory illness and pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
The most common COVID-19 symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure.
- Shortness of Breath
CALL YOUR DOCTOR if you…
Develop symptoms like the above, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19
Have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19
Are there cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?
Yes. The first infection with COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. A daily increasing number of cases has been documented of late. Updated counts of cases of COVID-19 infection in the United States is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. A small number of cases have been identified in New Hampshire
How do people catch coronavirus?
The virus is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread when someone touches a surface, such as a door handle, which has been contaminated with respiratory droplets or secretions from an individual with COVID-19 infection, and thereafter touches his/her face or mouth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about COVID-19
How is Cornerstone VNA preparing for a possible outbreak of coronavirus?
There are multiple coordinated and proactive preparedness efforts underway at Cornerstone VNA including:
- Our Leadership and Safety Committee and our Infection Prevention Department are in regular contact with local and state health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- We are screening patients to identify high-risk travel, potential exposure, and symptoms of the Coronavirus. And using recommended precautions.
- Remember that good hand hygiene is always important; it is the key to protect ourselves, as well as patients, families and caregivers. For the most up-to-date information, visit the NH DPHS website and CDC website.
What is the difference between coronavirus and viruses that cause the common cold?
There are many types of human coronavirus, including some that cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses.
Most people get infected with one or more of these common coronaviruses at some point in their lives. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is NOT the same as common coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus which has arisen from an animal reservoir that had not been previously identified. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus infection.
Testing to detect this virus is currently performed through the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratory. Commercial laboratories are in the process of developing testing capabilities.
What should I do if I have cold symptoms or a mild cough? Do I need testing for coronavirus?
If you have only cold symptoms or a low-grade fever, call your provider. Do not go to the Emergency Department and do not go to your provider’s office or a walk-in urgent care clinic.
Please contact your provider’s office via telephone.
If you are sick enough that you feel you should see a health care provider, call your provider’s office before going to their office for instructions on how to proceed safely.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
What should community members do to stay safe?
Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cough into your arm or the inside bend in your elbow.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this novel coronavirus infection.
Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?
Public health officials believe that the cloth masks do little to protect against coronavirus and can give people a false sense of security. The best protection against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water is not readily available, alcohol-based hand rubs are also an option.
Masks can be useful in some settings, such as a clinic waiting room, to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. There is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer outside of the health care setting.
When is it appropriate to wear a mask in public?
If you are sick and need to go out. Masks are appropriate in waiting rooms, if you need to wait for an extended period, or if you are caring for someone who is sick.
How to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses such as colds or the flu is through everyday preventive actions.
- Avoid being within 6 feet (close contact) of a person who is sick.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid sharing drinks or other utensils or objects that may transmit saliva.
- Stay home and avoid public places when you are sick (social distancing)
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with tissues or your elbow – do not cough into your hands. If you use a tissue to cover your mouth, throw the dirty tissue away immediately.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers
Proper handwashing is a safe and effective practice to prevent the spread of illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend five steps for proper handwashing.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information, specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
Printable Resource (English) Stop Germs! Wash Your Hands
Printable Resource (Español) ¡Detenga los microbios! Lávese las manos
For additional information, click here to go to our COVID-19 web page.