The worldwide outbreak for the coronavirus Covid-19 disease can generate unfounded fears or paranoia. Not surprisingly, not everyone who has symptoms in their respiratory system has this disease. Even less if they have not left the country.
Using official guidelines of the Costa Rica Ministry of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), we prepared this checklist of what to do if and when you suspect having contracted the disease while in Costa Rica.
If after reading this report, you consider that you are in danger of having contracted Covid-19, we urge you to call 9 1 1. Calling the emergency line you can be well prepared to make the best decisions and measures to take according to your case.
The Ministry of Health has even instructed private medical centers to notify the 9 1 1 system of suspicious cases to coordinate clinical care and follow-up. But remember not to saturate the line if you do not meet this profile because you could be delaying the attention of a true emergency.
Here’s what to do if you have or suspect you have COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Stay home if you have mild symptoms
People with mild symptoms — even if they haven’t tested positive for the novel coronavirus — such as mild fever, cough or sore throat, should isolate themselves at home while they are sick. That means don’t go to the office, school or public areas, and avoid using public transportation or ride-sharing services.ou have or suspect you have COVID-19.
1. Ask yourself the necessary questions to know whether or not you are a potential suspect case.
The Ministry of Health has instructed its staff to verify what is known as the medical history of the possible affected patients. The questions that professionals ask – and what you should also ask yourself – are these:
A: Do you have the following symptoms?
- Difficulty breathing
- Some other symptoms linked to the respiratory system
B: In the 14 days prior to the onset of your symptoms, have you traveled or resided in countries with native cases or with large circulation of the virus that causes Covid-19? (especially China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain)
C: Have you had close physical contact with a case confirmed by Covid-19?
D: Have you been to a health center where Covid-19 cases have been confirmed?
If you present the symptoms, and you can also answer yes to any of points B, C or D, it is imperative that you call 9 1 1 to be evaluated. Otherwise, do not do it.
The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, said in a press conference this Friday, March 6, that people with respiratory problems are advised not to go to their work centers or to places of mass concentration, such as shopping centers, concerts or parties, even soccer games.
“We only require that they go to health services in case they have traveled to a country with active transmission and have respiratory symptoms. It is not prudent that we saturate the services or calls to 9-1-1 in cases that do not comply with this profile,” said Salas.
2. Do not leave home and take measures at home
If you suspect you have Covid-19 disease, it is important that you stay at home, except to get medical attention.
You should restrict activities outside your home with the sole exception of getting professional health help. Do not go to work, school or public areas to avoid infecting other people. Avoid using public transport services, shared vehicles or taxis.
If you live with more people in your home, it is important that you stay in a specific room and away from other people who live with you. You should also use a separate bathroom, if possible.
If you have the virus or are suspected of having it, do not manipulate or touch pets or other animals.
Do not share dishes, glasses, cups, cutlery, towels or bedding with other people or animals in your home. After using these items, it is imperative to wash them well with soap and water.
3. Wear a mask and take care when coughing and sneezing
If you suspect that you are sick with Covid-19 because you had contact with a confirmed patient or were in any of the countries with active transmission of the virus, it is indicated that you wear a surgical mask when you are near other people (for example, in a room or vehicle); When you are near animals; Before entering a healthcare provider’s office; If you cannot use a mask because it makes it difficult for you to breathe, you need to isolate yourself as much as possible.
A person who is not sick or suspected does not need to wear a mask.
4. When to interrupt the insulation at home?
If you have already been diagnosed with Covid-19, the Ministry of Health guarantees professional medical follow up. You need to be under isolation precautions at home until the risk of secondary transmission to other people does not exist.
The decision to interrupt the isolation at home should be taken depending on each case and according to the assessment of health professionals. It is a decision that cannot be taken lightly. You can’t take it.
5. Remain calm. Covid-19 has so far proven not to be as serious as you might think
For now (March 6, 2020), the recovery rate of total cases is 55%, and the recovery rate over total cases that already had a result is 94%, according to official information available by Johns Hopkins University.
As of this morning, March 9, some 110,099 people worldwide have contracted Covid-19, but only 3.4% of them have died from complications from this disease, with 3,589 deaths. The majority of deaths have occurred in people who already had prior health conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions and immune problems, such as cancer), and were over 60 years of age.
If we put the numbers in perspective, the global pandemic for the influenza virus AH1N1, which had no vaccine between 2009 and 2010, was more contagious and lethal (of course, we talked about more than a year vs. the four months that the outbreak has been of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19).
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the global influenza pandemic AH1N1 resulted in an estimated total infected between 43 and 89 million people and between 151,700 and 575,400 deaths worldwide.
Taking the data into account, it is very important to remain calm, follow the instructions of health professionals, and know that, in the vast majority of cases, this disease looks a lot like the common cold and is treated as such.