Epidemic Preparedness

Access the article on setting up a testing lab for coronavirus here.

Our increasingly-interconnected global community is at risk for an epidemic which, when it occurs, will spread rapidly across the globe. People are continually on the move and once a virus spreads to a new place it can be difficult to contain. The recent Corona virus from China (COVID-19) has made its way to the United States and the CDC has stated that we are at heightened risk. Various virus safety supplies are available to mitigate the risk of contracting an illness when the threat of epidemic is high, from N95 masks to full body suits, disinfectants, and medical first aid supplies. Particularly useful items include 60%-95% alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS), disposable tissues, no-touch automatic waste cans for disposal, and face masks.

Advice From the CDC: While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat.

  • During flu season, the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread
  • Wash your hands often. If you are sick, wear a facemask to avoid spreading the virus.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Clean all "high-touch" surfaces everyday, such as countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions.
  • For Medical professionals who come into contact with someone carrying a contagious virus, always wear PPE. Reusable PPE must be properly cleaned, decontaminated, and maintained after and between uses.
    • Gloves
      • Wash Hands. Don clean, non-sterile gloves upon entry into care area. Change gloves if they become torn or heavily contaminated. Remove and discard gloves when done, and wash hands again.
    • Gowns
      • Put on a clean isolation gown upon entry into the patient room or area. Change if it becomes soiled. Remove and discard the gown in a dedicated container for waste before leaving the care area.
    • Respiratory Protection
      • Use a respirator that is at least as protective as a fit-tested NIOSH-certified disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirator before entry into the patient room or care area. Disposable respirators should be removed and discarded after exiting the patient’s room or care area and closing the door. Perform hand hygiene after discarding the respirator.
      • Reusable respirators must be cleaned and disinfected prior to re-use. N95 masks should be fit-tested. A poorly fitting mask will not protect you.
    • Eye Protection
      • Put on eye protection upon entry to care area. Reusable eye protection must be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions prior to re-use.  Disposable eye protection should be discarded after use.