What You Should Know About Coronavirus

Last updated on April 3rd, 2020 at 11:56 am

What You Should Know About Coronavirus

The CDC and other world and national health organizations have issued important information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19).  AMAC has compiled this useful data here to make it easier for you to stay informed as the country deals with this quickly spreading virus.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends steps on how to protect yourself from becoming infected with the coronavirus.  Please view the steps here.

According to the CDC if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.*

Preparing for the COVID-19 Now:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being out in public, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places, like elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, and handshaking with people. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces—tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and cell phones.
  • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks.
  • Watch for early signs of symptoms and have a plan if you get sick.
    Pay attention to potential COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

Coronavirus and Older Adults

How to identify if you are at higher risk:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
      • If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
  • Restricting visits with children, caregivers and reduce face to face communications.
  • Have a plan in the occurrence you get the virus. Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
  • Determine who can provide you with care if your caregiver gets sick
  • If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
    • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
  • A test for the coronavirus is covered under Medicare Part B and some other providers are waiving co-pays and pre authorizing requirements for testing with medical necessity.
  • A test must be ordered by a doctor or provider that is concerned you have COVID-19
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put you at increased risk for more severe disease. In addition to avoiding crowded places, you should avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.

Help for Seniors

As more communities across the United States report cases of COVID-19, public health experts are advising older adults and those with chronic health conditions to stock up on their prescription drugs in case an outbreak keeps people home for a prolonged time. AMAC’s Prescription Discount Card can be used to reduce the price of extra supplies of prescriptions and enable you to refill prescriptions.

On Tuesday, 3/17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to all Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Organizations (POs) to protect the health and safety of Americans in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps people meet their healthcare needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility. CMS is putting out COVID-19 guidance to all types of healthcare providers and facilities. PACE is the latest area of focus because these organizations serve older adults who often have serious chronic medical conditions and therefore are at higher risk of serious illness from the virus.

For more information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services please visit their website.

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