Heart to Heart International is actively preparing for a response to the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan, China.
As of February 11, the virus has caused more than 40,500 confirmed cases of respiratory disease and at least 1,000 deaths, surpassing the totals from the SARS epidemic in 2003. Suspected and confirmed cases have been found in 25 countries, with the vast majority in China.
On January 30, the World Health Organization declared it a public health emergency and notified its system of Emergency Medical Teams (including HHI) to ascertain the state of readiness and availability should there be an international request for medical teams.
HHI has been working to procure the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns and other specialized equipment that will be critical to decreasing the spread of infection, as well as working with partners throughout China to determine health and medical needs. HHI has committed its willingness to respond to the WHO.
The new coronavirus is derived from the virus family that includes the common cold, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
CDC recommends several protective measures against this virus.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces that can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
- If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China, carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered, if possible.