What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Updated March 16, 2020

Coronavirus FAQ, prevention, testing, travel & what to do if you feel sick


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Woman Learning About Coronavirus from Friend | Rocky Mountain OB-GYN | Denver, CO

CU Rocky Mountain OB-GYN is closely monitoring the detection and spread of the coronavirus disease 2019, a respiratory illness first noted in Wuhan City, China. The coronavirus is a family of viruses, and the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, is the disease caused by the new strain of virus now resulting in concern worldwide.

In conjunction with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we wanted to provide guidelines regarding travel and infection precautions. We encourage you to visit the CDC website’s coronavirus page for further information as developments emerge. Rose Medical Center is also posting on their Facebook page as they update hospital visitation policies.

What to do if you are sick with the coronavirus or suspect you may be

Manage your symptoms at home the same way you would manage other cold symptoms. If you need medical care, contact your primary care physician. You may also have a virtual urgent care visit through CU Urgent Care Virtual Visit. The public health department will contact you if you are a close contact of a possible or confirmed case and will provide further guidance.

Preventing the coronavirus infection

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus infection. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of the virus, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap for 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap is not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid contact with sick individuals.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with tissue (or elbow) and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas.

Testing for COVID-19

The CDC recommends testing three groups of people.

  1. Those who have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath and have been in close contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient within 14 days of that person’s first symptoms.
  2. Those who have fever, cough, shortness of breath, require hospitalization and have traveled to areas impacted by the epidemic within the past 14 days.
  3. Patients with fever and severe acute lower respiratory symptoms who require hospitalization and for whom no other diagnosis has been found, such as the flu.

If testing for COVID-19 is recommended, a healthcare provider will contact state and public health departments for further instructions.

Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus

Should I cancel my upcoming doctor’s appointment at CU Rocky Mountain OB-GYN?

We strongly recommend rescheduling nonurgent appointments for May 2020 or later. These appointments include annual exams, preconception consultations and birth control consultations. Please call us, or expect a call from our office, to reschedule these appointments. Patients age 60 and above should also reschedule nonurgent appointments for 4+ weeks out.

If you are sick with fever, cough or are having trouble breathing, please follow CDC self-quarantine guidelines and call us to reschedule upcoming appointments. If you have reason to think you might have been exposed to the coronavirus, please call our office and ask to speak to a provider.

We also ask that no children under 17 years old accompany the patient to her appointment, although patients under age 17 will still be seen if their appointment is urgent. At this time, all patients are only allowed one person to accompany them to their appointment in order to minimize the number of people in our office.

Is it safe to travel (including pregnant women)?

For most destinations, the answer is Yes. We recommend against nonessential travel to areas with Level 3 travel notices, as denoted by the CDC. Entry of foreign nationals returning to the United States from China and Iran has been suspended. Older individuals or those with chronic medical conditions should also consider postponing travel to Japan, which is under a Level 2 travel notice. For all other destinations, routine precautions are recommended, including frequent hand washing. If you have recently travelled internationally or come into contact with someone with COVID-19, we ask that you call our office and ask to speak to a provider before attending an appointment.

How does the coronavirus impact pregnant women and newborns?

Currently, there are no specific guidelines related to pregnancy. Based on limited data, pregnant women may be at higher risk for severe illness compared to the general population. We do not know if the virus can cross the placenta during pregnancy, which could carry the disease to an unborn child. But there have not been any case reports of newborns screening positive for the disease in mothers with known COVID-19.

I have a respiratory illness, should I continue to breastfeed?

Absolutely. Thus far, the coronavirus has not been found in the breast milk of mothers infected with the virus. Most importantly, the coronavirus is highly unlikely to be the source of a respiratory illness in our current region.

Are children more susceptible to the coronavirus?

No. Based on population data, the vast majority of cases have occurred in adults. There is currently no evidence that children are more susceptible to the disease.


References

ACOG.org. (2020). Practice Advisory: Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) – ACOG. [online] Available at: https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Practice-Advisories/Practice-Advisory-Novel-Coronavirus2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.

Department of Public Health and Environment. (2020). 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). [online] Available at: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health/news/coronavirus-info.html.