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PREVENT THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS IN BAY COUNTY LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES

April 21, 2020

Measures To Support Long-Term Care Facilities 

Panama City, Fla.The Florida Department of Health in Bay County (DOH-Bay) is working closely with local nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to take proactive steps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Nursing home populations are at a higher risk of being affected by COVID-19 because residents are typically older or disabled adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions.

As of 5 pm CT on Monday, April 20, there are currently two long-term care facilities in Bay County that have or have had positive cases of COVID-19. The two facilities are Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home and Brookdale Panama City. The Florida Department of Health publishes the list at FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov.

The daily COVID-19 report also includes information by county about cases and deaths related to staff or residents in long-term care facilities. There have been two residents or staff in long-term care facilities that have tested positive for COVID-19 in Bay County. This report is also available at FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov.

Public health efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing the spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of this virus. Contact tracing is frequently used during such efforts. Persons identified to be at-risk through the contact tracing process are interviewed, evaluated, and educated on their risk factors and what to do.

Measures to Support Long-Term Care Facilities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that nursing homes:

·       Restrict all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life situations

·       Restrict all volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel (HCP), including non-essential personal care providers (e.g., barbers)

·       Cancel all group activities and communal dining

·       Implement active screening of residents and HCP for fever and respiratory symptoms

DOH-Bay monitors implementation of the CDC’s guidelines by facilitating daily communication and conducting readiness assessments with each Bay County long-term care facility. The readiness assessments include an infection control evaluation, education of prevention measures and resources available to support prevention practices, and contact information for epidemiology and infection control specialists. These proactive steps improve long-term care facilities’ ability to:

·       Prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into the facility.

·       Identify infections early.

·       Mitigate the spread if infection occurs.

·       Assess the facility’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

·       Initiate measures to optimize the supply of PPE.

·       Manage severe illness.

COVID-19 symptoms and treatment

The symptoms of COVID-19 can mirror illnesses such as influenza. Patients with COVID-19 typically display symptoms such as fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, and/or shortness of breath within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus. Approximately 80% of those affected with COVID-19 report mild to moderate illness and experience a complete recovery. Some experience more severe illness. People who are more vulnerable to the illness include individuals who are over age 65 with underlying health conditions, immunocompromised, ill or have underlying chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Many cases of COVID-19 can be managed at home by treating symptoms, and this is encouraged. However, if you develop worsening symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or inability to drink fluids, contact 911 and advise them of your symptoms as you may need treatment at a hospital.

COVID-19 overview, symptoms, and general prevention

COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus; coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals. Other coronaviruses include the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is believed to have emerged from an animal source and is now capable of spreading from person-to-person. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

For more Information on COVID-19

For text alert updates from the Florida Department of Health in Bay County, text bayhealth to 888-777. For additional information specific to Bay County, visit BayHealthCOVID19.com. You may also contact the Citizens Information Center 7 days a week from 10 am – 6 pm at (850) 248-6090 or email ask@baycountyfl.gov.

For state level text alerts in the fight against COVID-19, text FLCOVID19 to 888-777.

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 website. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), please visit the CDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, please visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov .