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  • 04/06/2020 9:30 PM | Anonymous

    With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 disease from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it’s hard to know where to turn for information. Many of you are as concerned about your pets as you are about your human family. You want the facts to help keep your whole family – furry, feathered, scaly, or human – safe. Although six large cats and tigers at the Bronx Zoo were recently diagnosed with COVID-19, experts believe human to animal transmission seems to be quite rare. Your cats are probably fine, and there’s no reported evidence that pets can spread the virus to humans. Recommendations may change as understanding of the virus and associated disease changes, so be sure to check with your vet and/or monitor the shared sources at the bottom of this newsletter regularly for new information.

    What do you need to know?
    First, it’s early days in both the outbreak and in our knowledge of the virus.  We know that the COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a newly recognized member of the coronavirus family that appears to primarily infect humans. Other coronaviruses are responsible for things like colds in humans. This particular coronovirus is spreading rapidly because humans don’t yet have immunity built up in our populations. This is why staying home as much as possible, disinfecting surfaces, and washing your hands are important to slow the spread of the virus throughout our community.

    Can I get SARS-CoV-2 from my dog or cat?
    As of now, there’s little indication that dogs or cats are likely to carry or transmit the virus to humans; however there is the rare chance this can happen. The biggest concern right now is pets acting as fomites -- a virus-contaminated surface.  So, for now, avoid snuggling your pets with your face and as always, wash your hands after handling or picking up after your pet

    Can my dog or cat get SARS-CoV-2 from a person?
    Possibly. There has been at least one case where a dog tested positive for the virus after being exposed to an infected human.  However, human-to-pet transmission seems to be quite rare.

    Can my veterinarian test my pet for SARS-CoV-2?
    Probably not, and it’s probably not necessary.  Right now, in many countries, there aren’t enough resources to test all humans showing symptoms.  If your pet has a cough, a fever, or is otherwise ill, there are many other things that are far more likely to be causing those signs.

    My pet has an appointment, but I’m not feeling well.
    If you or anyone in your household is running a fever or showing other signs of illness, please stay home and take care of yourself. Call you vet to reschedule your appointment

    Where can I learn more?
    This article on Veterinary Partner has compiled a list of frequently updated and reliable resources on COVID-19 as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions:
    Veterinary Partner COVID-19 Article

    The AVMA has created an informative web page covering general issues COVID-19 as it pertains to humans and pets: 
    AVMA COVID-19 Info

    The Worms and Germs Blog is providing frequent reports on this issue: 
    Worms and Germs Blog

    The CDC website is a resource for human-specific info:
    CDC COVID-19 Info

    And also has a FAQ section specific to pets: 
    CDC Coronavirus and Pets FAQ
    As with so many things in life, exercising common sense and some extra care, plus lots of hand washing and sanitizing every time you touch or snuggle with you pet, will benefit us all.

  • 04/01/2020 6:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tips from Medicare.gov

    You may already be taking steps to protect your health during the COVID-19 emergency. Be sure to also protect your identity from scammers by guarding your Medicare Number.

    It's easy to get distracted and let your guard down during these uncertain times. Scammers may try to steal your Medicare Number. They might lie about sending you Coronavirus vaccines, tests, masks, or other items in exchange for your Medicare Number or personal information.

    Protect yourself from scams:

    • Only share your Medicare Number with your primary and specialty care doctors, participating Medicare pharmacist, hospital, health insurer, or other trusted healthcare provider.
    • Check your Medicare claims summary forms for errors.

    How to report Medicare fraud

    You can report suspected Medicare fraud by:

    • Calling us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
    • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, call the Medicare Drug Integrity Contractor (MEDIC) at 1-877-7SAFERX (1-877-772-3379).

    Have this information before you report fraud:

    • Your name and Medicare Number.
    • The provider's name and any identifying information you may have.
    • The service or item you're questioning and when it was supposedly given or delivered.
    • The payment amount approved and paid by Medicare.
    • The date on your Medicare Summary Notice or claim.

  • 03/27/2020 6:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Local and state officials are using shelter-at-home (sometimes shelter-in-place) orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVIS-19). By staying home, people can help minimize how many people are getting sick at the same time, protect those at higher risk of severe illness and prevent our health care system from getting overwhelmed.

    Unfortunately, sheltering at home can disrupt your routines and make everyday activities, such as work and caring for loved ones, challenging. These changes, on top of the general uncertainty around this pandemic, can create feelings of stress, fear and nervousness. These feelings are normal, and people typically bounce back after difficult times.

    Click here for information from the Red Cross that can help you cope with stress and support others during this emergency.

  • 03/26/2020 3:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    03/20/2020 11:20 AM | Anonymous

    Public health experts encourage people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, cough and shortness of breath — to call their health care provider before seeking care in person or going to the emergency room or urgent care.  Calling your health care provider first helps avoid spreading germs to others. Telehealth, including virtual visits and video check-ins, are a way to deter the virus from spreading in health care settings — especially to high-risk individuals such as older adults and people with underlying health conditions.  More testing facilities are becoming available but do require an order from your doctor to get the test. 

    To prevent the spread of this illness or other illnesses, including the flu:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water,
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze,
    • Stay home if you are sick or have any flu symptoms
    • Call your doctor if you think you're ill.
    • Contact your health care provider before visiting the emergency room, urgent care, or your doctor’s office
    If you think you may have been exposed and you have COVID-19 symptoms-fever, cough, and shortness of breath-contact your health care provider.  Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.   

    Call 911 if you develop warning signs of a serious health threat including:

    • difficulty breathing
    • persistent pain in the chest
    • confusion
    • blueness of lips and/or face

     Visit The Centers for Disease Control website for information on the Coronavirus.  Jay Butler, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases at CDC, describes preventative measures to help protect older adults from COVID-19 in this  video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjcoN9Aek24

    Also check out National Foundation of Infectious Diseases common questions and answers about COVID-19 for Older Adults and People with Chronic Health Conditions

  • 03/26/2020 2:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    03/20/2020 11:35 AM | Anonymous

    Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Now more than ever healthy Red Cross retirees, their family and friends are needed to roll up a sleeve and give to help patients counting on lifesaving blood. Finding a nearby blood drive or donation center simply requires submitting your zip code here.

    Growing Pandemic Results in Fewer Blood Donations

    As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have increased at an alarming rate. To date, nearly, 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80% of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at these locations.

    The Red Cross expects the number of cancellations to continue to rise, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.

    Safety Measures for Blood Donors and Staff

    While we know that coronavirus has caused concerns about whether it’s safe to go to blood drives and donation centers, the Red Cross has implemented thorough safety protocols to make the blood donation process even safer.

    The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including:

    • Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.
    • Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.
    • Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.
    • Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

    At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:

    • Wearing and changing gloves with each donor
    • Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas
    • Using sterile collection sets for every donation
    • Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub

    There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide

    Submit your zip code here,   to find a nearby blood drive or donation center near you.  And bring a friend.

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