SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Iowa’s governor has signed a disaster declaration, there are now more than 800 cases and nearly 28 deaths from Coronavirus in the United States, and COVID-19 is close to being classified as a pandemic, according to the Director-General of the World Health Organization.
“Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. “But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled. The bottom line is: we are not at the mercy of this virus.”
Public health officials have been promoting being prepared and not panicked. To help with that, we are answering some common questions.
JUMP TO QUESTION
- What about my kids or pregnant women?
- Should I be panicking?
- I have a cough or fever, what should I do?
- Should I get tested?
- How to I keep myself and others safe?
Does South Dakota have coronavirus?
Yes, as of March 10th, there are cases in South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Health releases information each day. The latest number will be in the chart below:
Am I at a higher risk for COVID-19?
Much of COVID-19 is unknown, but early information from China shows there is a certain population who are at higher risk of developing very serious symptoms from COVID-19.
Those populations include older adults (65+) and people with serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Anyone, however, can carry the virus and spread to those susceptible populations. Transmission of the virus is also considered to be very easy.
What about my kids or pregnant women?
The CDC said there isn’t enough scientific published information, but “pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19.”
Children, including the very young, appear to handle the virus well. A majority of cases confirmed have been in adults. This, of course, could change as more data becomes available.
Should I be panicking?
No. In fact, there is research that stress can weaken an immune system. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, due to COVID-19 stress, you may need to seek help:
- Fear and worry about your own health status and that of your loved ones who may have been exposed to COVID-19
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
The CDC says people with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms.
If you aren’t diagnosed with a mental health condition, call your health care provider if stress reactions interfere with your daily activities for several days in a row.
Some other things you can do for your mental health:
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories. Try to do other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
- Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.
I have a cough or fever, what should I do?
- Stay home (except to get medical care)
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a face mask (only, if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick)
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily
- Monitor symptoms daily (we’ll explore this more below)
- Stay in home isolation until the risk of transmission is low
More details can be found on this page from the CDC.
Monitor your symptoms
- Seek medical attention: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
- Call your doctor: Before seeking care, call your health care provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
- Wear a face mask when sick: Put on a face mask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the health care provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
- Alert health department: Ask your health care provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.
Should I get tested?
That will be up to your health care provider. Limited tests are available.
South Dakota’s guidelines for getting tested require several things to be hit, according to the Department of Health.
How to I keep myself and others safe?