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Covid-19

OC Plans to Get Coronavirus Tests up to 4,000 a Day

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Orange County officials are aiming to test at least 4,000 people a day for COVID-19 to locate the number of coronavirus cases. In Tuesday’s County Supervisors public meeting, the Health Agency Director of Public Health Services Lilly Simmering stated the agency’s objective is to have 10 separate testing sites put in place throughout the county.

Presently there are six testing sites operating as of Tuesday according to the agency’s website. The coronavirus has killed 42 people in Orange County, and there are currently 2,151 active cases as of Tuesday. The county has tested just over 27,700 so far

Dr. Nichole Quick, an OC Health Officer, informed Supervisors cases would likely increase once the stay at home orders are lifted. Quick stated that the County needs a consistent supply of protective medical equipment, including masks, gloves, suits, and a continuous supply of testing kits. Available medical equipment and testing kits will allow County health officials to track and isolate the virus to help prevent further outbreaks among communities. Hospitals and intensive care unit beds are needed to be ready for a potential increase in patients as well, according to Quick.

Sources:

  1. https://voiceofoc.org/2020/04/oc-aims-to-get-coronavirus-tests-up-to-4000-a-day-as-officials-draft-businesses-reopening-guidelines-gov-newsom-hints-at-early-school-year-april-28-update/
  2. https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening

Covid-19

Disinfecting Medical Masks and N95 Respirator Masks

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The use of the protective medical gear is essential for healthcare professionals to keep them safe, considering the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads primarily via droplets

Respiratory viruses are spread through droplets that are dispersed by infected individuals through coughing and sneezing. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic and using protective equipment, there has been a significant shortage of masks. The lack of face masks makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to remain protected against the infectious disease. 

How can masks be disinfected and re-used?

To conserve face masks, healthcare workers are currently extending face masks use to more than one patient encounter though they are considered ‘single-’use’ items. This method may increase the risk of infection due to the constant face mask touching, which may become contaminated after prolonged use. Frequent use increases the chances the masks’ surfaces could become infected with virus particles, which can lead to infection if the user touches these surfaces and then touches their face

The possibility of disinfecting and reusing masks as a method of prolonging their use has recently been considered. Systematic scientific research is necessary to clearly define the best possible methods to decontaminate the masks while maintaining the masks’ integrity to ensure they stay effective each use. 

Using steam and heat for decontamination

A recent study reported that wrapping N95 masks in protective peel pouches and then steam sterilizing them may be a successful disinfection method. Another study tested the sterilizing masks process, where N95 respirator masks and medical masks were placed in plastic bags and steamed on a pot of boiling water for five minutes

This disinfecting process keeps the masks dry, ensuring they remained effective while the researchers found a total inactivation of avian coronaviruses that were used to simulate contamination. Furthermore, researchers investigated whether a rice cooker could be used to steam-sterilize masks, comparing this with dry-heat decontamination

The steam treatment took 15 minutes max, which included five minutes of active steaming. Dry heat contamination was conducted in an oven by exposing the masks to 100-degree heat for approximately 15 minutes. The researchers found the steam treatment to be a preferred method of decontaminating the masks compared to the dry heat. Researchers reported that the steaming method was more effective than UV light decontamination. This study did not evaluate the effectiveness of the masks following decontamination.

Decontamination using UV irradiation has been used before for drinking water and air. A recent study found that using a UV-C disinfection cabinet effectively decontaminated N95 masks by using a 31-minute decontamination cycle.

Another study utilizing a UV-C germicidal lamp, researchers found that this method could achieve the decontamination of masks with SARS-CoV-2 particles. Researchers reported that the decontamination of masks took longer than hard surfaces. It may also depend on how contaminated the masks are, to begin with.

Sources: 

  1. https://medicalnewsbulletin.com/can-masks-be-disinfected-and-reused/
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/27/3d-printing-to-help-with-surgical-mask-shortage/
  3. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/17/how-to-fix-this-type-of-n95-mask-to-limit-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus/
  4. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/04/04/do-i-need-a-face-mask/

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Covid-19

Pink Eye Symptom of COVID-19

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Those diagnosed with COVID-19 can experience mild to moderate symptoms. Just recently, Canadian scientists have come across new information and have identified pink eye as a primary symptom of COVID-19

Internationally there have been over 8.5 million cases of COVID-19 recorded and more than 465,000 deaths. In January, when the first cases were reported, the World Health Organization compared the virus to other respiratory illnesses such as SARS and MERS. Symptoms, including fever, cough, fatigue, headache, and diarrhea.

One symptom not widely reported is conjunctival congestion, which has been found in 0.8% of COVID-19 patients. One Chinese expert in the early investigation of Wuhan COVID-19 patients contracted the virus even though he wore an N95 mask. However, he did not wear protective eye gear. Before displaying any respiratory signs of COVID-19, he developed a red-eye.

Researchers from the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry published a case study recently that discovered pink eye is an early symptom of COVID-19. The study was published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.

The study focused on a young woman who came back from a one-month vacation to the Philippines in February. A day after she returned, she started experiencing congestion, a runny nose, and pink eye symptoms in her right eye, but no fever. She went to her family physician the first day symptoms began and was referred to an ophthalmologist. When she visited the ophthalmologist, her pink eye symptoms had worsened and tested negative for strep. She was given a prescription to treat her pink eye.

Her symptoms were still not improving, and her physician tested her for other diseases that can result in pink eye and returned negative. Health authority recommendations testing for COVID-19 had been updated to include any out of country travel which prompted her to be tested. The young woman tested positive for COVID-19

This case study highlights the potential risk for healthcare professionals for increased chances of infection not only through established pathways of air and person to person contact but including transmission through the eyes. The study also presents evidence of pink eye as a symptom of COVID-19.

Authors of the study advise that all healthcare practitioners wear appropriate eye protection and other forms of personal protective equipment. Proper disinfecting methods should also be followed for any patient presenting symptoms of pink eye. 

Sources: 

  1. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/05/14/how-does-covid-19-affect-the-lungs/
  2. https://medicalnewsbulletin.com/pink-eye-a-symptom-of-covid-19/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/about/symptoms.html
  4. https://www.canadianjournalofophthalmology.ca/article/S0008-4182(20)30305-7/fulltext
  5. https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine
  6. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/17/how-to-fix-this-type-of-n95-mask-to-limit-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus/

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Covid-19

Orange County Update: COVID-19 Cases and Downtown Disney Reopening

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On Thursday, July 9, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 1,292 new coronavirus cases. The total number of cases reached 21,517 since testing began in March. There were twenty-six new deaths reported in Thursday’s update as the death toll climbed to 402

The California Department of Health announced 94 COVID-19 deaths in Orange County in the last fourteen days. The state department reports 814 hospitalized patients in the last 14 days suspected and positive in 33 hospitals across Orange County. The state’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard also shows the county has at least 40% of its ICU beds still available.

The estimated number of those recovered from the virus within the county is approximately 9,452 in Thursday’s report. Countywide,288,996 tests have been reported since testing began, with data through July 4. The state’s coronavirus dashboard gave a 12.4% test positivity rate for the county.

Though Orange County hospitals are preparing to activate crisis care strategies, Downtown Disney is beginning their first stage of reopening. The first stage reopening of Disneyland begins this week as the Downtown Disney outdoor shopping mall returns after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.Downtown Disney is scheduled to reopen on Thursday, July 9

Downtown Disney, along with Disney’s two Anaheim theme parks and three hotels, has been closed since mid-March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme parks and hotels remain closed indefinitely. Temperature checks will be conducted before visitors pass through the metal detectors and bag check areas at the security checkpoints. 

Mandatory face masks must be hands-free and cover the nose and mouth. Disney’s new Guest Experience Team will be available across Downtown Disney to outline the new safety and health protocols, answer questions, and encourage visitors to follow the new provisions.

Restaurants in Downtown Disney will have additional outdoor seating and will provide digital or single-use menus. Reservations will be available for some table-service restaurants through the Disneyland app or the virtual waitlist.

Ground markings for restaurant and store queues will help visitors practice proper physical distancing. Plexiglass barriers will be installed at some registers and cashless purchases will be encouraged.

Downtown Disney hours of operation will be limited to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sources: 

  1. https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc
  2. https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/#track-data
  3. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/07/08/orange-county-update-covid-19-cases-and-hospitals-preparing-for-crisis-care/
  4. https://www.ocregister.com/2020/07/08/disneyland-reveals-full-list-of-reopening-downtown-disney-shops-and-restaurants/

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