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  • 07/13/2020 11:09 AM | Anonymous

    Are you eager to resume international travel?  Some countries currently allow U.S. citizens to visit ,but, first, check out the restrictions. Note: the U.S. State Department continues Global Level 4 Health Advisory, and cautions against international travel because of the pandemic. However, it is also posting country-specific information as restrictions loosen.

    Countries have their own Covid-19 mitigation measures that might include curfews or curtailed activities and services; most standard travel insurance policies won’t cover medical or travel expenses related to the coronavirus; and borders can close and flights be canceled with little warning, stranding people in foreign countries.

    Here are the countries, in alpha order,  that currently allow U.S. citizens to enter, though there may be restrictions.

    Read the list from the New York Times.

  • 07/09/2020 12:34 PM | Anonymous

    You've seen the simulation on TV and read about it in the press....masks and face coverings are effective in reducing the number of droplets that are dispersed when we talk, cough, sneeze and sing.   Without a mask, droplets traveled more than 8 feet. A bandanna cut the distance to 3 feet, 7 inches, and a folded cotton handkerchief reduced that distance even more, to 1 foot, 3 inches.

    1. Masks protect other people.
    2. Many people do not know they are infected until symptoms develop.Some studies, including a paper recently published in the journal Nature, have found that over 40 percent of people with coronavirus infections never develop symptoms of COVID-19.
    3. Masks can protect you. A few studies suggest cloth face masks offer some protection for the wearer, but the protective perks are most obvious when everyone covers the mouth and nose.
    4. Masks help the economy recover. A national face mask mandate could serve as a substitute for lockdowns which would help the economy.
    5. There aren't other alternatives until a vaccine is developed and widely available.

    Read more

  • 07/01/2020 10:58 AM | Anonymous

    As of June 19, every state had allowed dentist's offices to reopen for all procedures, according to the American Dental Association.

    Neglecting routine dental care is unwise, say healthcare professionals.  They noted that the dentists and hygienists are more at risk of getting sick since they are the ones on the receiving end of any droplets that could contain the virus.  So if you are comfortable, go back to your dentist for a cleaning.  Expect to wait in your car until they are ready for you amd contact you on your cell phone to come into the office.  Doctors do not want you in their waiting rooms, and, besides, they have removed all the magazines.

    Read more in the New York Times

  • 06/15/2020 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    In the past, contact tracers have been used to help slow the spread of many infectious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.   The core of contact tracing, is to try to workers are  identify people who have been exposed to someone who is infectious and  let them know so that they can change their behavior and not unknowingly or inadvertently infect anybody else.

    In the case of Covid-19, contact tracers will be used to reach out to individuals who have tested positive for the virus. Because people with Covid-19 often don’t show immediate symptoms and may not know they have the illness until they receive an official diagnosis, contact tracers will help the infected person remember and identify the people they have been in close contact with during their diagnosis period and the two days leading up to it.  A new Coursera class ,developed by the Johns Hopkins  Bloomberg School of Public Health is now available to train contact tracers on the principles of the public health strategy many consider critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

    The free six-hour course is open to anyone

    The contact tracing course is divided into five sections or "modules," covering:
    1. Basic information on the virus and COVID-19, including symptoms of infection and how the virus is transmitted
    2. Fundamentals of contact tracing, such as how to define a case, identify their contacts, and calculate how long a contact should isolate;
    3. Steps involved in investigating cases and tracing their contacts, including simulated scenes performed by professional actors who illustrate potential interactions that tracers may experience with infected individuals and their contacts
    4. Ethics of contact tracing, including balancing privacy and public health considerations, and examples of basic technology tools that can facilitate contact tracing, such as using text messaging for check-ins and reminders;
    5. Skills for effective communications in the tracing process, such as what it means to be an "active listener" and how to deal with common challenges that arise when investigating cases.

    Click here for more information on the Course.

    Click here to find contact tracer jobs near you or contact your state health department.

  • 06/09/2020 12:44 PM | Anonymous

    No.  The Red Cross has put necessary precautions into place at donation centers to minimize risk, which includes, but is not limited to the following:

    • Employees wearing gloves and changing them often
    • Wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection
    • Using sterile collection sets for every donation
    • Preparing the arm for donation with aseptic scrub
    • Conducting donor mini-physicals to ensure health on day of donation
    • Enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment
    • Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the appointment
    • Temperature checks before donors enter the blood drive or donation center
    • Following social distancing practices between donors including donor beds, as well as waiting and refreshment areas
    • Staff wearing basic face masks
    • For the safety of our donor community and in accordance with CDC guidelines, all donors are required to wear a face covering or mask. If you do not have one, a mask will be provided to you.

    The Red Cross has sent out an urgent request for blood and platelet donations.  Blood donors have cancelled appointments and stayed away from blood drives because of the evolving COVID-19 health crisis.  People are scared to donate blood because of the virus.  But the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams said, "You can still go out and give blood.  We're worried about potential blood shortages in the future.  Social distancing does not have tom mean social disengagement." 

    Schedule your donation appointment here.

  • 05/22/2020 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    As we move ahead with the COVID-19 pandemic and are more comfortable with going out, it is hard to figure out what the rules are from community to community. If you are planning to travel this weekend,  check out this chart from the Washington Post that shows where states are reopening and what the rules are in each one.

  • 05/19/2020 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    As a digital stenographer you can reach into history and put your time in quarantine to good use.  Museums  and research libraries are looking for volunteers to transcribe documents.   The Smithsonian Institution increasingly relies on the general public to transcribe historical documents. The transcription project  at the Library of Congress also needs volunteers to work form home transcribing their papers.  There is something for everyone...Recipes from Rosa Parks. Diaries of suffragists. Walt Whitman’s poems. Slave letters. The papers of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Depression-era menus. Whaling logs. Crop reports. Science-fiction fanzines. School yearbooks. The corporate files of Maidenform, the pioneering bra manufacturer.

    It is easy.  Materials are uploaded to the Internet and as a volunteer you type what you read into a digital notepad.  Crowdsourcing the transcription of historical records is an efficient way for museums and research organizations to create an archive of online resources for scholars and history buffs. 

    Smithsonian Institution
    Library of Congress

  • 05/12/2020 3:26 PM | Anonymous

    State and county health departments are looking for contact tracers to track and halt the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.  Experts estimate that at least 15 tracers will be needed per 100,000 Americans.  Creating this army of trained contract tracers is bigger than any assembled in U.S. history.   

    Contact tracers notify possibly infected individuals and map their exposures to other people and provide a link between the public health system and communities.  They are part detective, part therapist, and part social worker,skills held by many Red Cross retirees.

    The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health unveiled a course on the online platform Coursera to teach Americans the fundamentals of contact tracing.  The course provides a good, solid, basic training to quickly scale up for a workforce.  Privacy, medical ethics, virology and interview techniques are included in the six-hour package. The course is available free of charge to the public — you can take it here.

    Read more at The Washington Post

  • 05/11/2020 2:28 PM | Anonymous

    Most of us are staying inside and online. Through phone calls, email, text messages and assorted conference calls and video-chat platforms we are trying to stay connected with family and friends.  But how do you stay connected with less tech-savvy family and friends who cannot jump on a Zoom chat because they do not have a "modern" computer or a computer at all. 

    Before you look at the list of easy tech products, stick to the simple.  Get a free conference call number and set up a group call.  You can always write a letter, that can be read over and over, and shared with others.

    But if you want a tech solution, here is the list of easy tech:

    1. Try one of the many free conference call services.  
    2. Jitsi Meet is free, simple face-to-face video-conference that works in most browsers and has apps for Android and iOS. It doesn’t require an account, can deliver smooth video and audio, and includes extras like in-chat YouTube playback, which allows everyone to watch the same YouTube video at the same time.
    3. Echo Show offers a built in camera and screen for virtual face-to-face that connects through Amazon's Alexa.  But everyone needs an Echo Show to participate.
    4. Facebook Portal uses your Facebook accounts to connect but everyone need a Facebook Portal.  

    Research  has shown that maintaining social connection is as important for your physical health as it is for your mental health. Last month, The New York Times reported  that “loneliness increases the risk of an earlier death by 26 percent,” and  that “lacking any social connection may be comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day as a risk factor for mortality.”

    Read more at the New York Times

  • 05/06/2020 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Unfortunately, scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to steal your Medicare Number, personal information, and money. And they're using robocalls, social media posts, and emails to do it. 

    Remember, if anyone reaches out to get your Medicare Number or personal information in exchange for something, you can bet it's a scam.

    Be on the lookout, so you can stop scams before they happen. Here are recent Coronavirus scams to watch for:

    • Robocalls offering you respiratory masks they'll never send
    • Social media posts fraudulently seeking donations for non-existent charities, or claiming to give you stimulus funds if you enter your bank account information
    • Fake testing kits, cures, "immunity" pills, and offers for protective equipment

    Visit Medicare.gov/fraud for more information and tips on preventing Medicare scams and fraud.

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