Officials Update Public on Coronavirus

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Doctors are studying the coronavirus as the disease continues to spread.
— Photo by SamaraHeisz5 / Shutterstock

On Monday, Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill shared an update about the coronavirus (COVID-19) with the community in an online message. He mentioned that the federal government announced on Feb. 28 that they will not be using Fairview Developmental Center as the state-wide quarantine zone for patients positive for coronavirus.

This action followed pushback by Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and other nearby city and county officials fighting the transfer. The city filed a brief with the court, arguing that the move would risk the health and welfare of residents and the rest of the densely populated Orange County.

They questioned the justification of the move, and federal and state government attorneys were “unable to answer basic protocol questions,” O’Neill said.

“Then, late Friday afternoon, the federal government filed papers saying that they would not be choosing Fairview and asked that the Court dismiss the case as being moot — a legal term meaning the case’s controversy no longer exists,” O’Neill wrote in the message. “The Court has granted that request and the hearing for today has been taken off calendar.”

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa.
— Photo by Charles Weinberg ©

“As mayor, my highest priority is the safety and welfare of our city’s residents, employees, and millions of annual visitors,” O’Neill said in the statement. “When that safety and welfare is threatened, my fellow Council members and I will act.”

On Wednesday, Congressman Harley Rouda voted to pass an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations bill to fully address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“I’m proud to support this bipartisan supplemental bill that empowers state and local health agencies, accelerates the development of a vaccine, and provides low-interest loans for small businesses suffering COVID-19 related financial losses,” Rouda said in a prepared statement. “Last week, I led nearly three dozen new members of Congress in calling for this funding, which provides the resources needed for an effective, coordinated, and comprehensive government-wide response to this public health threat.”

The supplemental bill, H.R. 6074, includes: More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics; $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, $950 million of which is to support state & local health agencies; Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity; $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions; $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad to help keep Americans safe here at home; and allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses, to help cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency.

Dr. Tingting Tan, a medical oncologist with City of Hope Newport Beach provided information in a short piece titled “Coronavirus and Cancer: What Patients, Caregivers and Survivors Need to Know” provided to the Indy on Wednesday.

“Coronavirus is dominating news headlines and conversations everywhere,” Tan wrote. “It’s important for everyone to take precautions, especially people with cancer, the elderly and those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory illness and high blood pressure.”

It’s key to stay on top of the updates from the Centers for Disease Control and take steps to protect yourself, she noted.

Doctors recommend washing your hands thoroughly and scrubbing all surfaces for at least 20 seconds.
— Photo by Martin Slavoljubovski / Pixabay

Tan recommended avoiding crowded areas or close contact with people who are sick.

Always wash your hands thoroughly (scrubbing all surfaces for at least 20 seconds) and frequently, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.

Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content when soap and water are not readily available, she recommended. Make sure objects and surfaces that are frequently touched are cleaned thoroughly.

People should also be sure to get the flu shot, Tan said, and call a doctor if symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath develop.

“If you are undergoing treatment, like chemotherapy, consult your medical team to reduce your chance of infection,” Tan noted. “Continue to take prescribed medications, including those manufactured in China; there’s no evidence that transmission of coronavirus could occur through imported goods.”

Stock up on essentials and food if you want to avoid store lines where you could be at risk of infection.

In a message on Tuesday, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce shared information about the coronavirus and its possible impact on local businesses, as provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“We encourage you as business owners, employees and community members to stay in the know on this continually evolving issue,” NB Chamber officials wrote.

As the situation continues to evolve, it is important for all employers to monitor the Coronavirus outbreak and implement strategies to protect their workforce while ensuring continuity of operations, Chamber officials explained.

The US Chamber has created a toolkit of resources can help both employers and employees with guidance that may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including the coronavirus, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of the virus.

Among the advice, before an employee gets sick, the Chamber recommends considering a few things: Determine whether flex working is an option; Create an employee communications plan; Decide how to handle spikes in absenteeism; Coordinate with state and local health officials; and Make a business continuity plan.

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