The Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, is a growing concern across the globe. As a nurse or travel nurse, we encourage you to stay updated on the latest in order to protect yourself and provide quality care to your patients. Here’s the latest information on the outbreak, including how it’s spread, how to protect yourself, and other nurse-specific resources.
What is the Coronavirus and how is it different from other coronaviruses?
There are four types of coronaviruses which cause common colds in humans. This coronavirus, named COVID-19, is different because it originated in animals and evolved to infect humans. Because of this change in the virus, it is called novel coronavirus. The outbreak is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, with links to a large seafood and live animal market. Other examples of a novel coronavirus is SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus) and MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus).
What are the symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus?
- The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory virus infections, like influenza. It includes fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Symptoms can range from mild to severe, even causing death.
- The CDC believes at this time that symptoms appear as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Coronavirus in the United States
- Originating in China, it has officially been named a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
- Globally, there are 207,855 confirmed cases as of March 19, 2020.
- In the United States, there are 10,442 confirmed cases by the CDC.
Tips to protect yourself against the coronavirus
Looking for additional tips to stay healthy? Read these prevention tips from the CDC and LiveScience:
- As with normal flu season precautions, practice good hygiene and
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, as you can pick up the virus that way.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects, like doorknobs and countertops. Other coronaviruses are effectively inactivated within a minute with disinfectants with 62% to 71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. It is not yet known if the new coronavirus will react the same way.
- Get a flu shot if you have not already. Though the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you from the COVID-19 strain, it does have some benefits. You will be less likely to develop severe pneumonia if you contact both at the same time. You will also avoid making a trip to the doctor’s office in the middle of a COVID-19 epidemic, which could put you at additional risk.
- Prepare to stay home, if possible. If a large outbreak does
occur, anticipate staying indoors away from public areas.
- If you or someone in your household regularly takes prescription drugs, consider procuring an emergency supply from your health care and insurance providers to avoid exposure in doctors’ offices and pharmacies.
- Make sure you have a reasonable amount of groceries and basic household items. No need to prepare for the apocalypse, but consider keeping essentials around. Having items like extra laundry detergent and frozen or dry goods around will reduce possible exposure at the grocery store.
Nurse coronavirus resources
As a nurse, you are heroically putting yourself at risk to serve others. We hope these below facts and tips provided by the CDC will assist you.
When is someone infectious?
The onset and duration of viral shedding and period of infectiousness is not yet known. Looking at similar viruses, like SARS-CoV-2 RNS, it may be detectable in the upper or lower respiratory tract for weeks after illness onset. Existing literature regarding SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses suggests the incubation period may range from 2-14 days.
Can people who recover from COVID-19 be infected again?
The immune response is currently not understood. Patients with MERS-CoV infection were unlikely to be re-infected, but it is not yet known if a similar immune response will exist with COVID-19.
How should healthcare personnel protect themselves when evaluating a patient who may have COVID-19?
Here is what the CDC recommends – Although the transmission dynamics have yet to be determined, a cautious approach to persons under investigation for the coronavirus is recommended. Healthcare professionals should use Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, Airborne Precautions, and use eye protection when providing care for patients with confirmed COVID-19.
How should COVID-19 be treated?
There are currently no antiviral drugs licensed by the FDA to treat COVID-19. Clinical management for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is focused on supportive care of complications, including advanced organ support for respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure. It should also be noted that not all patients with COVID-19 will require medical supportive care.
Should travel nurses anticipate coronavirus screenings for new job placements?
Most likely, yes. If you are matched with a hospital that requires a coronavirus screening, your recruiter or our credentialing office will provide you an additional screening form. If you have additional questions, please contact your Fastaff recruiter.
Fastaff’s Dedication to our Nurses
In a constant effort to maintain the safety and wellbeing of our nurses, we have implemented guidelines and procedures in the event one of our nurses should be exposed and require quarantine during their travel assignment. Please be reassured that if this should happen, you’ll be taken care of. Fastaff will continue to pay your weekly guarantee and housing expenses during this time.
The health and safety of our nurses and their patients is our number one priority. If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our Clinical Service division at 1-800-736-8773.
Additional coronavirus resources for travel nurses: