Novel Coronavirus

January 2020

 

In a school environment, it is important we all practice the best health hygiene and disease prevention practices.

 

Information for staff:

For those of us paying attention to the news, many are concerned about the spread of what is commonly referred to as the Novel Coronavirus. This is the most recent strand of coronavirus, a family of diseases that includes both MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Although the full picture of the Novel Coronavirus is not yet known, deaths from these diseases generally affect patients who already have a weakened immune system. This video from the World Health Organization gives a good and thorough explanation about what is known so far.

 

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the mortality rate for each of these diseases is as follows:

  • 9.6% of patients who contracted SARS died from the disease.
  • Between 30 and 40% of patients who contracted MERS died from the disease.
  • Although many deaths have been reported from the Novel Coronavirus, the fatality rate is nowhere near that of MERS or SARS. It is too early to a provide conclusive number, but estimates so far are around 3%.

 

Education:

Please take the time to review all of the following information. More importantly, we need to educate our students and hold them accountable for putting these habits into practice.

  • For example, anyone seen coughing or sneezing into their hands should immediately be sent to wash their hands thoroughly.

 

Coughing/sneezing:

To prevent the spread of disease, it is imperative that we properly cover our coughs and sneezes. This information page explains the importance of covering coughs and sneezes. This is done by coughing or sneezing into the crook of the elbow:

 

Handwashing:

The importance of proper and frequent handwashing cannot be over-emphasized. As this information page explains, antibacterial soap is unnecessary, and may even lead to antibiotic-resistant germs - what are commonly referred to as “superbugs.” 

 

The most important element in proper handwashing is time. A minimum of 20 seconds, or the amount of time needed to sing the entire alphabet song, is needed to wash the germs and microbes off the skin.

 

Transmission:

Germs may be spread through the air or through physical contact. It is especially important to refrain from touching one’s face. The easiest way for a germ to infect a new host is through the eyes, nose, or mouth.

 

Resources:

 

Please read for further information on the Novel Coronavirus.