A population at risk

At this point, everyone has heard of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. It is a virus that has been infecting the world for the last several months. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. With over 550,000 confirmed cases in the US so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it is undoubtedly a severe threat. Most notably, the elderly population has had the highest death toll among all the age groups. As of now, it is still speculation as to why the virus is harming the elderly population primarily. Though it is worth mentioning that the people who are dying from the coronavirus, many have pre-existing conditions such as a weakened immune system, which makes them more susceptible to getting the virus. This is why assisted living facilities and nursing homes are having to make changes to the facilities.

New measures taken

The Centers for Disease Control have started implementing new procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are recommending canceling all visitation except end-of-life situations, no longer having communal meals or activities, restricting all non-essential employees, and screening patients who have fever or cough. In addition to this, they are recommending to test health care professionals to ensure their safety as well as preventing further contamination. These changes to everyday operation will make a big difference in the spread of coronavirus as well as practicing good hygiene, such as proper handwashing. Though this is a stressful time for everyone, health care workers are making all necessary changes to ensure the stop of the spread of coronavirus.

Limited supplies could lead to more cases

Although the health care workers are doing everything, they can, to change procedures, many hospitals and other health care facilities are running out of supplies fast. Recently, this has become a hot topic of discussion in the government due to the high risk of spreading the virus to health care workers and other patients. Some longstanding health care procedures with things like Personal Protective Equipment or PPE are being changed during this crisis leaving many health care workers upset due to feeling exposed to COVID-19. With tests recently being utilized, no one can be sure how many cases there are, and because of the limitation of the tests, not everyone is being tested. Couple that with the fact that health care workers do not have the appropriate gear to sufficiently protect themselves from the virus and watch as the outrage grows. If health care workers do not have the proper protective equipment when taking care of a patient who is COVID-19 positive and then go into another patient’s room after, nothing is stopping the spread of the virus.

Is seeking care safe?

Deciding to utilize assisted living facilities is not an easy decision; between choosing the right facility and ensuring the appropriate care as well as the quality of care. With the epidemic of coronavirus still very prevalent around the US, and older adults being harmed the most by the virus, it poses the question of should you go to an assisted living facility during this crisis. While the doctors and health care worker’s advice and recommendations should be adhered to, the concern now of the exposure due to lack of protective gear is present. The most important thing that should be handled at this point is getting our health care facilities stocked sufficiently to ensure the safety of the health care workers and the patients. So, if your health is stable, staying in your current living situation may be the best option until things reach some semblance of normal.

A final thought

The coronavirus should be taken very seriously, especially if you are more susceptible to getting the virus. More than ever, we need to adhere to the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines and hygiene and prevention of spreading the virus. Social distancing should be followed, and people should only leave their homes for essential purposes. The sooner the infection is under control, the faster things in the world can go back to normal, and the fear of contracting the virus will be gone.

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Joseph Kertis is an experienced healthcare professional turned journalist. He started his journey in the medical field ten years ago as a Certified Nursing Assistant for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. His career blossomed, and within a decade, he became the Clinical Director. His experience in the field of substance abuse and addiction recovery provides a unique insight into one of our Nation's most challenging epidemics. He utilizes this knowledge is his writing to give an expert viewpoint that spreads awareness through education. He is a featured author of the healthcare website Addicted.org.

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