My family, unfortunately, has been close to some of the front lines of the Coronavirus outbreak. One of us was in several CDC Level-3 countries before returning to the United States on March 12, 2020.
Corona Virus And My Family
Due to this we have been caught up in a number of emerging issues from screening and testing, to quarantine and more. I’m here to tell you what’s going on behind the scenes.
What Is Increased Screening?
This family member was in several European cities (Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and more) during March. When they flew back into the United States we were anticipating the increased screening that we learned about in this speech.
Screening ≠ Testing
As they passed through US Customs they experienced the aforementioned increased screening. This consisted of being asked if they were in China or Italy. This family member observed that not a single person they went through Customs with was asked about symptoms, had their temperature taken, or was given a Coronavirus test.
Federal Government Recommendations
They were given no information on quarantine procedures, nor was it recommended. However, this family member immediately went into self-quarantine to avoid becoming a potential vector for the spread of this virus. We all need to do our best to flatten the curve.
What Is Self-Quarantine?
The rest of us are in quarantine too. There are no tests available to those coming from the middle of the pandemic. We are in quarantine to protect others in case we have Coronavirus due to exposure from our traveling family member. Having been in the health space for almost 30 years I take public health very seriously. This is not just about preventing old people from getting sick, though that is of extreme importance. It is about preventing total collapse of our health care system.
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How Many Tests Does USA Have?
Unfortunately, we do not have enough tests to test high risk populations (like my family traveler) which include those coming from hot spots around the world as well as our medical personnel, and people who experience typical Coronavirus symptoms.1
Testing In Colorado
The governor is desperate for tests,2 and our Boulder County Medical Director personally told me that they do not have enough tests to administer to emergency personnel. As of March 20, 2020, less than 3,000 individuals3 had been tested in Colorado out of a population of 6,000,000.4 We don’t have enough tests here as outlined in The Denver Post article titled, Colorado Coronavirus Testing Frustrations.
Testing In USA
According to this Wall Street Journal, article:5
When cases of the new coronavirus began emerging several weeks ago in California, Washington state and other pockets of the country, U.S. public-health officials worried this might be The Big One…The testing program they rolled out to combat it, though, was a small one.
How Many Tested?
According to the WSJ, as of March 20, 2020, 32,000 people had been tested in the US. Incidentally, of those, 6,500 people tested positive for Coronavirus. It is concerning that 20% of those tested are positive.
Global Coronavirus Count
Here is a link to a Global Coronavirus Counter from Johns Hopkins. Please note, the numbers you see on this counter will be different than those I cite above, given that this tool is current, and the above are from newspaper articles that do not get updated.
Let’s Start A Global Conversation
I’d love to connect with you during this challenging time. Let me know where you are, how you’re holding up emotionally, what your physical condition is, and if you have access to Coronavirus testing. Stay safe, flatten the curve, and support our health warriors!
Matt Russ says
Please let’s be ready! Ain’t no joke! Togheter we are strong!
Matt, thanks for sharing this, we need more testing in the US.
Deborah Lang says
Thank you for sharing your story. I send much love and hugs to you. I am aMaternal-Child health nurse . I am so worried about my moms and babes The impact of the Covid-19 on their lives will be felt longer than this outbreak.
I have a daughter who is working on the front lines in New York City. Some hospitals
do not have enough protective equipment to dte.. I am worried about her everyday.
I hope it is all right to write : some of my family members who live in other states have not realized the seriousness . I am horrified at their lack of sensitivity , lack of kindness . May I say it is not about their lives but community. If everyone stays in ., they are not only protecting themselves but protecting the very vulnerable, i.e. pregnant moms and their babies. Staying in is true community spirit .
Thank you for all you do to support the community in health and wisdom.
Kindest regards, Deb
Deborah, it is more than alright to share that people do not realize the seriousness of this infectious disease. This is a health blog and the goal is for us to help people live better, healthier lives. I’m so very sorry to hear that people you know are not protecting the vulnerable pregnant moms and their babies around our country. That is absolutely tragic. My thoughts are with you and all of those that you serve. Keep me posted and stay safe if you can, I know you are risking your life on the front lines of this war. Thank you.
Laurel Edwards says
Our Dear Elana,
I just learned of your personal losses to Covid 19. My heart breaks for you. There are just no words to express how much I am grieving, for those who are grieving.
I am in WA state, just completing my second month of sheltering at home with my loyal and loving pup. I believe I am still healthy, though there is no testing being offered is Spokane at this time. We do take our daily walks in uncharacteristically sunny and warmish weather. God is so good!
Yesterday, Georgia opened nonessential services and Hopes to throw open the doors to restaurants and bars on Monday. I pray that this governor is not pre-signing the death sentences for thousands of additional victims of the virus. I grieve for those who can’t work, earn paychecks, and feed their families. These are such desperate times. And yet, I wonder if getting my nails done or a tattoo is really mandatory for my health and wellness, right now. I can wait another month or two to “do lunch”with friends to ensure that I don’t become ill, thereby placing an unnecessary burden on my local nurses and hospital.
I haven’t received my incentive check from the government yet. Nor have my neighbors who who are dipping into their emergency funds to buy groceries. When I DO receive my check, half of it will be donated to local food banks for feeding those people and animals in need.
I have no valid solutions to end this pandemic. Yet, we all surely know that ‘wishful thinking’ is of little use right now. The solutions are found through our dedicated scientists, health care workers, test kits and vaccines.
I pray a lot, and am kind to others I come in contact with. I don’t hug and I don’t shake hands. I wear a mask when I leave home, which is seldom. I am more concerned with spreading the virus than getting the virus myself.
Elana, thank you for offering this platform for sharing our thoughts and prayers. When I am in need of foods for comfort, I always come running to Elana’s Pantry! After all…WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. Love and Blessings, Laurel
Laurel, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I am right there with you, praying along that the governor of Georgia is not signing a death sentence for thousands more. On another note, it is truly galvanizing when religious people of any faith come together to live out their values in their daily actions. You are deeply inspiring and I’m so grateful we are on this path together. Thank you. Sending you love.