Coronavirus crisis escalates

Humberto Chairez, Reporter

According to Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), the number of individuals infected by the coronavirus has grown into the thousands with hundreds of deaths reported in Republic of China. The coronavirus typically stems from animals, but this current epidemic of coronavirus is a mutation that passed from animals to humans.

The first known cases were reported in December 2019. This particular virus originated from an animal market in Wuhan, China, which is 500  miles west of the major airport in Shanghai.

It is believed that the coronavirus is passed through the exchange of bodily fluids through person to person. Recent evidence from Wuhan, China suggests that the disease spreads just as the flu does, from person to person, multiple times. There is no cure for this virus, but over 100 people have been successfully treated, according to the National Health Commission.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed official symptoms of the coronavirus are runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and a general feeling of being unwell.

Laura Sabedra, Manager of Marketing and Communications for Bakersfield Heart Hospital, explained what steps are being taken to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. “We are only following the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) online guidelines on the current coronavirus,” Sabedra said.

The current CDC guidance regarding the coronavirus is to identify and isolate patients with coronavirus and inform key facility staff and public health authorities, outline plans for internal and external communications, care for patients with known or suspected coronavirus as part of routine operations, and monitor and manage healthcare personnel with potential for exposure to coronavirus.

Some key highlights from the CDC checklists on hospital guidelines include assessing availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection prevention and control supplies that would be used for both healthcare personnel (HCP) protection and source control for infected patients. Additionally, they should ensure that appropriate HCP have been medically cleared, fit-tested, and trained for respirator use. And finally, confirm the local or state health department contact for reporting coronavirus cases and confirm reporting requirements.

According to a source from San Joaquin Hospital who wishes to remain anonymous, “There are practice drills for quarantines outside the hospital and designated roles have been established.”

According to USA Today, there have been numerous airlines that have taken precaution on flights coming in and out of China. American Airlines are suspending flights from LAX to Shanghai and Beijing, China from Feb. 9 to March 27. United Airlines have also claimed to cut flights between the United States and China. Delta Airlines is currently the only major airline to continue flights in and out of China.

Large overseas airlines, such as British Airways, have suspended all flights to and from China. NEEDS ATT “Air Seoul, a budget airline, became the first South Korean airline to suspend its fights to mainland Chinese destinations.”

“Health officials have confirmed the first two cases of the new strain of coronavirus in Los Angeles and Orange counties, brought by travelers who came from the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China,” according to an article published by the LA Times. This only brings more concern of possibility of infection spreading throughout California but “The risk of local transmission remains low,”  L.A. public health officials said.