Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information

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Given the recent conversations surrounding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), we felt this information should be shared with our school family and the Berrien RESA service area community. 

All the information provided on our website was taken from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This information is focused on preventing the spread of the disease, symptoms and what to do if you think you may be sick. More information is available on the Berrien County Health DepartmentMDHHS or the CDC websites. You can also visit COVID-19 Resources from Spectrum Health Lakeland.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

What is the COVID-19?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

A diagnosis with Coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

Why is the disease being called the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel Coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel Coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice for naming of new human infectious diseases.

How does COVID-19 spread?
Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through: the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, and in rare cases, contact with feces.

What are the symptoms of the COVID-19?
According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include: 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. If you have been in China within the past two weeks and develop symptoms, call your doctor.

What are the symptoms of the Influenza as they differ a little from COVID-19According to the CDC, common Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. 

*It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

PREVENTION BEST PRACTICES

The CDC has provided some guidance on prevention that should be used for both the flu and coronavirus: 

  • Washing/cleaning/sanitizing with soap and WARM water is fine, as long as you're washing hands for 20 seconds. No specific "special products" are needed.
  • Sanitizing gel is also fine, but note that it must be rubbed into the skin until it's dry.
  • Masks do not provide any benefit to healthy individuals, and if someone is exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, they need to be isolated at home. 
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue, elbow or sleeve is recommended. Tissues should be immediately thrown away in trash receptacles.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

These steps will support students and staff against common winter germs, including colds, seasonal flu and strep, in addition to COVID-19. They are smart practices for all individuals and organizations and we encourage families to follow the same practices at home. 

Should the COVID-19 virus come to the Berrien RESA service area, we will follow the direction of the state and Berrien County Health Department. 

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