A message from Soundview Pregnancy Services Director of Nursing
Heather Georgiou RN, MSPH, CHES, CCCE
We shouldn’t live in fear but we should proceed with care and caution out of concern for the vulnerable among us.
*** Update: March 31, 2020: Gov Cuomo has extended NYS “On Pause” until April 15th. Gov Cuomo has issued an executive order allowing pregnant women to have one support person with them during labor/delivery. ***
Both Suffolk and Nassau Counties now have drive up COVID 19 testing sites. If you are interested in being tested call the NYS Coronavirus hotline at 888-364-3065.
For other questions related to Coronavirus call 311
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of a contagious disease, is to stop the germ from finding a home to live in.
If it has no home, it has no where to live and it dies.
What home does the virus live in?
How can we stop the virus from finding new people to live in?
By decreasing the amount of contact people have with each other. The virus has less of a chance to jump from one person to the next if people are not near each other.
The less our paths cross with each other, the less chance the virus has to find a new person to live in and infect.
By doing this you can help protect at risk people including pregnant women.
According to the CDC pregnant women are at increased risk of susceptibility for respiratory infection due to the physiologic changes in pregnancy and pregnant women should be considered to be an at risk population.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update—Information for Clinicians Caring for Children and Pregnant Women https://emergency.cdc.gov/coca/calls/2020/callinfo_031220.asp
Many people are saying COVID 19 is like the flu.
The truth is this is a new germ. There is a lot we don’t know about, we are learning more day by day.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause cold and/or flulike sickness. This virus was just discovered in 2019 and it causes “COrona VIrus Disease”, that is why it is named COVID 19.
What we do know is, how diseases, in general, spread.
Let’s take a look at a group of diseases we know a lot about, sexually transmitted diseases.
As a comparison, lets look at how STIs are spread :
If Ted and Sarah were only exposed to each other, they are only exposed to one person. (top row of chart)
But if Ted was exposed to 12 people and Sarah was also exposed to 12 people, they are both exposed to 4,095 people. (bottom row of chart)
Even though they didn’t have sex with 4,095 people, they are still potentially exposed to the germs of all those people.
Do you see how that increases the chance of them getting infected?
Now let’s look at this in the context of a respiratory illness.
If you are at home with just your family, you are exposed only to them.
If you leave and have a face to face interaction with someone, when you get home, you are potentially exposing your family to the person you had contact with.
The more people you are exposed to, the more the potential to be exposed to germs.
In the case of COVID 19, According to the CDC, most cases have been spread by people being within 6 feet of each other. Which means that it is spread by being around other people.
Governor Cuomo is “urging all New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible and to keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others in public spaces to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.”
The CDC says:
Is Covid 19 spreading in our community?
In Suffolk County, as of March 10, 2020 there was 1 case reported, as of March 16th 2020, there were 74 cases. As of March 30, 2020 there are 5,791 cases in Suffolk County.
In Nassau County as of March 10, 2020 there were 19 cases and as of March 16th there were 109 cases. March 30, 2020, 7344 cases in Nassau.
As of March 30, 2020 66,497 cases have been confirmed in New York State.
Is this an outbreak?
The concern with an outbreak is that if a large number of people get sick at the same time, the hospitals won’t have enough staff, space or supplies to take care of all those people.
According to Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the attack rate in the NY area is approximately 1 in 1000 people. She states, “So to all of my friends and colleagues in New York: This is the group that needs to absolutely social distance and self-isolate at this time.”
But its not too soon to try to stop the spread and protect our fellow community members.
Why is staying home important? Because it breaks the chain of infection.
How can you not be part of the chain of infection? Stay home, stay out of enclosed public spaces, maintain a personal space of 6 feet around yourself.
For our pregnant readers, Just like your womb is a safe space for your baby to grow and develop, create a safe space for your health to be protected and nurtured.
What do you mean stay home?
Isolation: To separate a person from other people, to remain alone or apart from others.
Quarantine: The isolation of a person who is sick/has a contagious disease. The purpose is to prevent the spread of the germ to other non infected people. The person is kept separate from other people until they are well.
The person should:
- use a separate bathroom
- stay in a separate room
- limit contact with other people and animals
- not leave the house except for medical care
- CDC guidelines are here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
Quarantining has been done throughout history to prevent the spread of disease. Ships, houses, buildings and sometimes whole cities or islands were designated only for those who were sick.
This is still done in hospitals where they have specially designed isolation rooms and/or units. These rooms or units are structurally engineered with added extra measures of infection control protection and they are physically separate from regular rooms. Healthcare personnel are extensively trained on how to use these rooms in conjunction with personal protective equipment so that they do not get sick or spread to the disease to other patients they care for.
A quarantine can be voluntary or mandatory.
Sequester: Isolation of someone who is not necessarily sick. A person can be sequestered for many reasons. In this case the purpose would be to maintain one’s health and prevent spread of disease to others.
- keeping yourself at home,
- not traveling,
- going out only for essential trips for food or supplies,
- limiting visitors,
- keeping social distance of 6 feet.
This maintains the health of the person sequestering and helps promote public health by decreasing the amount of contact people have with each other. It helps to break the chain of infection. It helps to maintain your current state of good health.
Sequestering or voluntarily isolating ourselves can preserve our health, this is of special concern to at risk people such as pregnant women, the elderly and those with health conditions like lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.
Other things we can do to promote our health:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- When not able to access soap and water, use alcohol based hand sanitizer. Apply it to your hands, rub it all over the surfaces of your hands and allow it to air dry. As soon as you have access to soap and water, wash your hands.
- Don’t develop a sense of false sense of security because you are using gloves. While gloves can be helpful when used properly, remember gloves can still transmit germs from one surface to another, they should always be changed after touching something that is potentially contaminated and hands should always be sanitized/washed after removing gloves as there is a chance of a microbreak in the glove, also some germs are small enough to pass through gloves.
- Additionally Covid 19 appears to be a respiratory illness, masks protect the respiratory system.
- Breathe through your nose. Your nose was designed to be a filter. It is lined with hairs that trap particles and dust. The nose is lined with special tissue called mucous membrane, it is moist and traps smaller particles and germs from entering down into the lungs and it also has specialized immune cells that destroy germs on a cellular level. Another feature it has is that it can produce mucus to expel the germs from the body, if you’ve ever had a runny nose, you know your filter was working.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of tissues.
- Clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces, tables, counters, doorknobs, light switches, phones, car steering wheel etc.
- Some sources recommend getting the flu shot even though the flu shot does not provide any protection against Coronavirus. As with any other health decision you make, please consider the risks and the benefits and determine if this is a good choice for you and your specific situation in this specific time.
- Now is not the time to get run down. Get a good amount of rest and sleep each day. Give your body good nutrition to maintain your health. Drink water and stay hydrated. Pregnant women, continue to take your prenatal vitamins as advised by your doctor. Get exercise and fresh air (not in a gym, but outdoors maintaining a distance of 6 feet away from others). Don’t take these things for granted, they contribute to good health but can be the first things to be sacrificed in times of stress.
- Manage stress. Stress can take a toll on your immune system. Set aside time each day, (even if its only 2 minutes it is beneficial), to perform a stress management technique. Ex; close your eyes and deep breathe, sit in a quiet place and visualize that you are in a beautiful and safe place, use guided imagery, sit still and progressively relax your body from your head to your toes, take a nap, meditate, sing, pray, https://www.myfaithvotes.org/covid-19-pandemic-prayer-guide
- If pregnant, take time to take some deep cleansing breaths while you place your hands on your abdomen and visualize your baby receiving fresh oxygen, talk to your baby, play music for your baby, read to your baby, say positive messages to your baby, such as “We are healthy and strong”, your baby hears you and loves you. Visualize your baby safe and happy inside your womb.
Remember that as of now, there have been no cases of babies born to moms with Covid 19 getting the disease. cases in children have been less severe, with children recovering well.
As moms we always hope for the best, but we are prepared for the worst. There are no guarantees in motherhood and we need to be ready to handle whatever happens. It takes courage to be a mom.
What to do if you do get sick:
According to the CDC the signs and symptoms of COVID 19/Coronavirus are:
- Shortness of breath
If you should have these symptoms call ahead to your provider and tell them what your symptoms are.
The healthcare providers will need to prepare to protect themselves before your visit.
If you have a positive diagnosis of Covid 19, remember that most people fully recover from the disease. A quarantine should be implemented to protect the health of others and prevent the spread of disease. Read more about what the CDC recommends if you get sick
Remember that God is more powerful than any force here on earth, including Coronavirus and that all eventualities fulfill His Holy will.
Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.
Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Thy Holy Will.
For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in all things.
Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy Holy Will.
Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.
When things unforeseen occur , let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee.
Teach me to behave sincerely and rationally toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.
Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.
Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love.
Prayer of the Optina Elders