The Trump administration announced a series of steps to boost the availability of coronavirus testing, after facing heated and bipartisan criticism. Concerns about the pandemic continue to ripple across the globe, as more events are canceled, including the Masters and the Boston Marathon; U.S. schools have been closed to millions of students. The stock market is rebounding despite the specter of prolonged economic dislocation, with investors hopeful that the Trump administration and congressional Democrats were nearing agreement on relief measures and their swift enactment [Source: Washington Post].
Lingering virus on surfaces.
Scientists have found that the coronavirus can stay infectious for days on some surfaces. They also discovered that the coronavirus can be shed by people before they develop symptoms and can linger in the body for many weeks. Hygienic measures must be followed to keep the virus at bay, and as we learn more about it, cleaning methods can be upgraded to decrease the mechanisms of surface disease spread.
Drive through testing.
New Yorkers will have access to coronavirus screening at a drive-through testing facility that opened this morning in New Rochelle, a suburb outside New York City that became a containment zone after dozens of confirmed cases of the virus. Residents in New Rochelle and Westchester County who make appointments by phone will be able to be tested from their cars. The testing facility will prioritize those who are most vulnerable, including New Rochelle residents who have been in precautionary quarantine and swabs will be sent to BioReference Laboratory, which will contact residents with their test results. The State of Colorado opened a similar testing site in Denver where patients who have a doctor’s note can be tested at no charge. Motorists drive to stations where health care providers wearing protective gear will register them, take temperatures and swab their throats and noses for samples. It is a safer and faster method of testing and requires decreased contact with patients who can infect each other in waiting room environments for example. The U.S. has borrowed this idea from South Korea who pioneered the quick and convenient testing method, in the hopes it will gain some traction with regard to narrowing in and closing the spread of COVID-19 in the States.
San Francisco has opened testing to patients who visit Kaiser Permanente Hospitals if they meet criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and have a doctor’s note.
Virus spread among top officials.
Higher level government officials from various countries are reporting positive results and measures are being taken for those they had contact with to be tested. Measures also include self-quarantining and taking other precautions to reduce the amount of people they come into contact with through travel restrictions and working remotely. The simplest prevention strategies are to avoid sick people and wash hands.
Health officials are still working to better understand how easily the virus is spread from person to person. It may be possible for an infected person to spread the virus before exhibiting symptoms, but individuals are thought to be most contagious when they are sick with the symptoms of the virus according to the CDC. Stay informed, stay calm and follow guidelines as they evolve.